Climate is culture

Read the Nature Climate Change cover feature “Climate is culture” by David Buckland published in the magazine’s March 2012 edition.

In 2001, British artist David Buckland founded Cape Farewell to bridge a communication gap between the science of climate change and the societal shift required. He explains why we need a cultural response to climate change.

Storytellers, C. S. Lewis said, carry meaning in a way that rational truthtellers cannot. “For me,” the novelist
wrote, “reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.”

It is perhaps unsurprising that it has been the scientists reporting the evidence of global warming who have become the most passionate in calling for society to urgently change its course. “Talk to climate scientists
and it fast becomes clear that severe climate change is coming and it won’t be pretty. The sense of restrained panic you hear in the voices of these learned men and women reveals more than a legion of scientific papers,” says Tom Rand, a green venture capitalist and author of Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit.

However, this urgency isn’t being communicated successfully enough to provoke the real change needed in our global societies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and mitigate climate change. The resistance to cultural change is baffling in the face of extreme weather events and other disturbances across our planet.
Anthropogenic climate change threatens us all with an uncertain physical, social and economic future, so why are we not engaged in sorting out our future? Perhaps cultural approaches can succeed where the hard facts of science have failed…

Read the full article  PDF 1Mb

“Climate is culture” article by David Buckland
Nature Climate Change magazine, March 2012

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