Reply To: Reflections by Maria on lecture of 9 June

Author Replies # Posted on June 10, 2014 at 21:07

Response to Sanna’s reflection:

Thank you Sanna for this critical and personal reflection. I totally agree with you that it is hard to imagine that the whole world, every person on the planet, will “take action” towards climate change as the word goes. I believe there is already a flaw in this way of wording that is also present in Kristina Persson’s presentation. Society is divided into people who take action and people who don’t and moreover, it is divided into leaders and followers. This framing supposes that there are people who know and do exactly the right thing facing these multiple crises and others who don’t. Then the problem becomes to convince people to follow, people who can quickly change their decisions, values and even world views.

I have severe difficulties with this way of framing – because it reduces climate change to a “challenge” that can be tackled by bold policymakers and open-minded individuals. It is up to the governments to find ways to reduce the CO2 emissions in a fair way and businesses and the people to support them in this unprecedented endeavor. What it is missed out is that climate change can be understood as the consequence of economic and technological developments that created huge wealth, social statuses and ways of living we are so used to that we cannot think around them. It baffled me how Kristina Persson mentioned the GPS tracking of car drivers in order to measure and tax their CO2 emissions. It is easier for us to comprehend such a hypertechnological solution than a society that is simply more localized and uses bicycles and public transport as means to be mobile. It is easier for us to comprehend that “the most efficient mean is the market” than that a slower, less materialistic way of living might be more effective against climate change. In other words: it is easier for us think about climate change in technological and economic ones than in any other, although it has the potential to make our lives more satisfied and simple.

Thus I would strongly suggest that we should not leave climate change to politicians, scientists and economists – self-proclaimed “experts” but to encompass it and use it as a mirror for our own lives as Mike Hulme suggests. This is not to say that climate change is no longer a global and complex phenomena that affects everything but to focus on the very origin of every emission: our ideas what makes a good life.