Worldviews and Climate Change: Harnessing Universal Motivators to Enable an Effective Response

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change is undoubtedly a complex phenomenon, measured and argued in detailed terminology indecipherable to all but the most educated of scientists; not typical fodder for global conversation (Elliott 2007). However, it is difficult today to find any source of mainstream media – print, television or digital – on any given day that fails to mention it. The sustained and mainstream interest indicates that anthropogenic climate change has hit a nerve deep within western society. Perhaps it is because its effects are so unpredictable and disrespectful of human-constructed borders [primarily through extreme weather and the resultant conflicts wrought by scarcities of water, arid land, and other natural resources (Ackerman and Stanton 2008; Heinz Center and CERES 2009)]; westerners can no longer rely on centralized policy and technology to keep them safe. Perhaps it is because climate catastrophe has been a common theme throughout past and current mythologies around the world, in which climate catastrophe is seen as a punishment for irresponsible human behaviour; climate change may strike some universal fear inherent in humankind. Perhaps it is because the majority of western society finally understands humankind is altering its very habitat and sees extreme weather as an assertion of nature’s power over man. Whatever the reason, just as the polar bear has become the poster child – or metaphor – for anthropogenic climate change, so has anthropogenic climate change itself become a metaphor in the west for humankind’s broken relationship with the natural world. A break that, if some of the more dire predictions are to be believed, has already crossed the “point of no return”. How could the most intelligent and socially developed species in the history of the earth have allowed this to happen? To what extent can anthropogenic climate catalyze the effective, long-term societal and behavioural changes needed to heal this break?.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change Management
PublisherSpringer
Pages175-189
Number of pages15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameClimate Change Management
ISSN (Print)1610-2002
ISSN (Electronic)1610-2010

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