Skip to comments.Simultaneous action needed to break cultural inertia in climate-change response
Posted on 03/30/2012 4:36:17 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
LONDON (March 26, 2012) Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated before real action can be taken to effectively address threats facing the planet from human-caused contributions to climate change.
That's the message to this week's Planet Under Pressure Conference by a group of speakers led by Kari Marie Norgaard, professor of sociology and environmental studies at the University of Oregon. In a news briefing today, Norgaard discussed her paper and issues her group will address in a session Wednesday, March 28, at 2 p.m. London time (9 a.m. U.S. Eastern; 6 a.m. U.S. Pacific).
Scientists from multiple disciplines from around the world are at the conference to assess where they stand before the June 4-6 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro also known as "Rio+20" since it is occurring 20 years after 1992's Rio Earth Summit that drew officials from 172 governments.
"We find a profound misfit between dire scientific predictions of ongoing and future climate changes and scientific assessments of needed emissions reductions on the one hand, and weak political, social or policy response on the other," Norgaard said. Serious discussions about solutions, she added, are mired in cultural inertia "that exists across spheres of the individual, social interaction, culture and institutions."
"Climate change poses a massive threat to our present social, economic and political order. From a sociological perspective, resistance to change is to be expected," she said. "People are individually and collectively habituated to the ways we act and think. This habituation must be recognized and simultaneously addressed at the individual, cultural and societal level how we think the world works and how we think it should work."
In their paper, Norgaard and co-authors Robert Brulle of Drexel University in Philadelphia and Randolph Haluza-DeLay of The King's University College in Canada draw from the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) to describe social mechanisms that maintain social stability or cultural inertia in the face of climate change at the three levels.
At the personal level, climate-change information raises fear about the future, a sense of helplessness and guilt. These emotions clash with individual and often national identity, sense of self-efficacy and the need for basic security and survival. In small groups, interactions often subvert political conversations and/or submerge the visibility of climate-change issues. At the macro level, or society at large, the co-authors point to an absence of serious discussion of climate change within U.S. Congressional hearings and in media coverage.
In many discussions in the last 30 years, climate change has been seen as either a hoax or fixable with minimal political or economic intervention, said Norgaard, author of the book "Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life" (2011, MIT Press). "This kind of cultural resistance to very significant social threat is something that we would expect in any society facing a massive threat," she said. The discussion, she said, is comparable to what happened with challenges to racism or slavery in the U.S. South.
"Just as we cannot overhaul a car fleet overnight, we cannot change our ideological superstructure overnight," Norgaard said. "We must first be aware that this resistance is happening at all levels of our society," she said. "If you have to push a heavy weight, it doesn't mean it can't be moved, but in order to push it you had better know that you have something heavy and figure out how to move it where to put the lever to shift the weight."
Most discussion on climate change has focused on natural science. It is time, she said, to broaden that approach. "Social scientific responses have been limited in their primary focus on individuals. These explanations are important but partial and thus inadequate as explanations or guides for future action. Our cross-dimensional model links individuals, culture and society. We have to take all dimensions into account simultaneously."
"Confronting climate change is daunting but it is not an insurmountable obstacle if we collectively put our minds together," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for research and innovation at the University of Oregon. "Interdisciplinary collaboration among social scientists and those involved in technological advances can help to move us forward."
gonna be a lot of hot air around and soon.. and letting ya know what your tax dollars are supporting.
>>>Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated before real action can be taken...<<<
If that single phrase is not the essence of a tryant, nothing is. God help is.
Will they never give it a rest?
This poor young lady is in serious need of some dental work. I hope someone will get it for her.
Except us climate change advocates of course. We are immune to collective, habitual thinking and acting.
Hi, I’m Kari Marie, and I’m a kook. I can prove it. In my spare time, I braid alfalfa sprouts and knit them into my pork chop casserole. If that’s not proof enough, I can’t figure out which foot goes into what sock.
She looks as though she was abused as a child.
So, does her preferred solution involve the use of cattle prods and bullwhips and mandatory re-education camps?
Yikes, that scared my dog.
So let me get this straight. Scientists from around the world fly on carbon-spewing jets to London - instead of videoconferencing - to tell us how critical it is to the survival of the human race that we reduce our carbon emissions.
And they wonder why we don't take them seriously...
What kills me is that the people they want to “treat” are the ones paying for all this crap science!!!
Sorry, Peaches. The Communist in the White House poses a threat 10 million times more dire to our "present social, economic and political order" than any fallacious climate change.
The U. of O. is a hotbed of radical nuttiness on par with Berkeley, Madison WI and UN HQ in New York.
"We find a profound misfit between dire scientific predictions of ongoing and future climate changes and scientific assessments of needed emissions reductions on the one hand, and weak political, social or policy response on the other," Norgaard said. Serious discussions about solutions, she added, are mired in cultural inertia "that exists across spheres of the individual, social interaction, culture and institutions."Well, we find "a profound misfit between dire scientific' predictions of 'ongoing and future climate changes' and scientific' assessments of 'needed emissions reductions on the one hand', and you know, like, actual science on the other. You know, science - that starts with a skeptical assessment of what other scientists say, and leads the actual scientist to demand to see the data and it provenance in detail, and then checks any theory against all known data and attempts to invalidate the proposed conclusions.
We find instead a bunch of politicians making a pretense of science but going so far as to collude to break the law in order to prevent others from seriously critiquing their science.Your tone sounds like you know that anyone who disagrees with the conclusions which you find congenial needs to go to a reeducation camp. If anyone need a reality check, honey, its you.
As a child, I liked Chiclets.
WHAT? You mean you're SURPRISED at getting resistance to your "hurry up" program of change when — FOR TWENTY YEARS — you have FAILED to PROVE your claims with ACTUAL data?
You know, dearie, when they said "Honor Roll" that wasn't a reference to the one on the wall next to the toilet, but...perhaps in your case an exception can be made. It's obvious that's where your degree came from, in any case.
I’ve often said that the anthropogenic global warming is tailor-made for the socialists who want to try to force humanity to live in their vision of utopia. Socialism for the sake of socialism has always been a hard sell, and the left has tried to disguise it in many ways. But saying the planet will die unless we adopt socialism—stroke of genius!
I think this is the woman Rush was talking about, who dreams of forcing all people to live in crowded cities, allowing no one to experience nature or open spaces... she’s not too bright, if she can’t see the multitude of problems in that vision. Wall people away from nature, and they lose their appreciation of it, without which, they’ll have no desire to protect the environment. Plus, cities are filthy. There will still need to be farms, landfills, water treatment, and sewage plants—which, no doubt, would be clustered around the city, making it an even more miserable place than it already is. The reality of confining all people inside cities would rather defeat the purpose, I think, if the purpose is to “protect” nature from human activity.
Something doesn't appear right there, whether from injury or genetics.
Well, she looks like she’s having fun. God bless her.
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