Emergent solutions for global climate change: lessons from green IS research
In the emerging field of Green IT/IS, 2% is often quoted as the percentage of environmentally harmful emissions attributed to the IT industry. The term ‘Green IT’ is now part of the vocabulary, recognizing the problem of IT as a polluter and the responsibility of IT professionals. There is a counter argument that in IT, IS people have the potential to positively influence the global environmental future – in other words, develop Green IS to reduce the other 98%. Given the urgent need for progress on Climate Change, the authors argue that it is the duty of IS academics, researchers, and practitioners to reorient IS and develop new IS practices that optimize processes in support of sustainable outcomes. This argument is supported by the ability of IS to transform business processes. This paper describes Climate Change as an example of a ‘wicked problem,’ and argues that IS research has often demonstrated that imposed, top down solutions are ineffective for highly complex problems. In contrast, bottom up, emergent solutions have more promise for creating real change.