Progress without perfection.

I just watched two short news clips about innovative ways to potentially reduce humanity’s impact on the planet. Both have their merits and, unsurprisingly, some debatable downsides. Each clip ended with a question broadly asking “but is this really the right way to save the planet”?

It’s right to consider our priorities carefully and commit resources wisely. Probing, assessing and evaluating are necessary means to ensure we’re going the right way. I’m reminded of this this timeless Italian wisdom, though:

Perfect is the enemy of good.


Ending the clips with ‘but’ will put some folks off embracing the proposal and indirectly support inaction. For others, it will drive them to seek a better solution still – which is good although will need more time. How do we best drive immediate engagement with potential solutions then?

In the wikipedia article for the phrase attributed to Voltaire, I loved this:

“Robert Watson-Watt, who developed early warning radar in Britain to counter the rapid growth of the Luftwaffe, propounded a “cult of the imperfect”, which he stated as “Give them the third best to go on with; the second best comes too late, the best never comes.”

When the need for action is clear, we must commit to considered movement over static scrutiny.

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