A Climate Of Change

The dominant rhetoric of the climate change conversation has emerged out of the modern environmental movement, which has been growing and reinventing itself since the early 1960s. As evidence has mounted of accelerating deforestation, the widespread effects of toxic pesticides and industrial emissions on human health and ecosystems, a growing list of endangered species and exploding human populations, the conversation at the core of the environmental movement largely has become focused on the damaging effect of human activity.

The theme of limits — of modern development as a scourge or virus that has run rampant over the planet — has pervaded global consciousness and is fundamentally shaping our response to environmental challenges. Furthermore, we have become fixated on defining, calculating and predicting the exact extent to which humans have exceeded these limits.… First, a common response to a message of unavoidable and impending apocalypse is often one of apathy, disempowerment and shame.…

The second consequence, intimately related to the first, is that this apocalyptic framing suggests that human behaviour needs to be constrained and managed so as to do slightly less harm. But what if we want more than just to recapture the ‘healthier’ planet of 200 years ago, but instead to improve well-being, health, equity, community and a host of other factors?

From “Understanding Climate Change: Science, Policy and Practice


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