Which way are you looking?
The words you use in your everyday language show whether you are looking forwards to your future or constantly wanting to go back to your past.
Sometimes you hear something on the TV news, and you can’t help yourself saying, “you are joking…!” That happened to me the other day when I heard the newsreader say that there were plans to open the UK’s first deep coal mine in 30 years.
Now, forgive me, but I hadn’t caught up with the notion that we would have a new coal mine in the UK. However, plans have been mooted for the past three years to bring back coal mining. And, strangely, 40 Conservative MPs support the project. That’s odd because, under Margaret Thatcher, the Tory party was behind coal mining’s swift demise, sending many parts of the UK into deep local recessions.
We now know that coal-fired power is environmentally damaging. Indeed, there are only four coal-fired power stations in the UK, and they are all due to close within the next four years. Plus, the National Grid just calls on them when necessary. Much of the time, we do not use electricity that is generated by burning coal.
So, why the rush to go back to coal? The answer, apparently, is that it can help in steel production. What seems to have eluded the people wanting to restore coal mining is that the environment does not know whether the coal is burned for electricity or steel. It’s the same damage that happens.
Instead of looking forward to alternative manufacturing methods, the steel producers are looking behind them at what has worked in the past. The argument for the new coal mine is that it will reduce imports as well as creating jobs.
I’m no engineer, but I don’t believe it is beyond the wit of the manufacturing experts to come up with a way of making steel that doesn’t need coal. However, there is a problem for these experts. Expertise comes as a result of experience. That means their brains have a starting position in the past. Looking for alternatives inevitably looks backwards with the “what do we already do and know” style of thinking.
This is a similar situation to the one I faced in a meeting this week. I had been asked to attend because the chairperson…