G. Barker, Coming to Terms with the Organic: Emerging Perspectives for the Global Environmental Crisis
October 4 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Discussions of climate change reveal a deep disconnect in our thinking about environmental issues in the human-dominated world of the 21st century. The language and conceptual tools shared by many climate scientists and policy-makers remain attached to a reductive mechanistic perspective that eschews talk of values, while those shared by many activists and practical experts have strong strains of a value-laden organicist holism. Both views are dangerously inadequate to guide effective and ethical responses to the global environmental crisis. An adequate perspective must remain scientifically responsible while coming to terms with the special features of organic systems, including global ecological systems, and with the role of human communities and activities as components of large-scale natural systems. New perspectives that attempt to meet this challenge are emerging in an array of disparate contexts, both scientific and practical. Some show genuine promise and will repay efforts to integrate and develop them, while others entrench inherited problems.