Questioning my own motives
I am little the wiser listening to the conflicting analyses of the nuclear power station situation in Japan’s earthquake zone. One expert commentator leaves me feeling chilled to the bone that we were on the edge of a tragedy. Another commentator explains how this is nothing even close to a Chernobyl situation and we should be reassured by the successful layers of backup that have enabled us to stay well clear of a disaster in the face of an earthquake followed by a tsunami.
Which to believe?
Like climate change, I cannot be an expert in these deeply complex matters. I listen to the views of the commentators with what I hope is a healthy skepticism. I am pretty sure one was anti-nuclear and I know the other came from an industry trade association.
But I know my conclusions will be colored by the framework within which I hear the perspectives; that I believe climate change is a dangerous reality and I don’t think we will be able to distill enough energy from solar, wind and water to meet our lifestyle expectations (although goodness knows, we had the evidence this last week of how much power there is in water).
So if my framework is correct, we need nuclear to be safe. Therefore, I want the expert commentator from the trade association to be right.
The structures upon which we build our views are fragile and certainly influenced by our preconceptions on related topics. It is a good discipline, for corporate responsibility practitioners in particular, to look inward from time to time and examine our own motives and how they lead us to the conclusions we reach and then defend with such certainty.