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We need a new common consciousness of what’s necessary and possible to curb climate change.

We need a new common consciousness of what’s necessary and possible to curb climate change.

Cultural resistance to the need for a fundamental, urgent, unprecedented rethink of the way we conduct life in order to limit temperature rise is continuously fed by the apparently affirmative but actually misleading words of charismatic thinkers such as Rutger Bregman and Steven Pinker, Teresa Belton finds. What we need instead are fresh holistic narratives of contented material sufficiency and personal and social enrichment —to create the critical mass for a new common consciousness, and to protect the world from catastrophic ecosystem destruction. (This article is an edited version of a piece first published in The Ecologist on 5 November 2018.)


We need a new common consciousness of what’s necessary and possible to curb climate change. | Guest blog by Teresa Belton
Mural by Super A and Collin van der Sluijs. Image: (CC.0) Pavel Nekoranec / Unsplash.com

Political and social consciousness of the looming threat and the measures necessary to limit rising temperatures is still largely unengaged. In the UK one need look no further than the government decision to build a third runway at Heathrow airport, the continued subsidies given to fossil fuel companies, the reduction in incentives to install solar panels, and the slackening of planning regulations to allow fracking applications free passage. And at the household level, sales of consumer goods and use of energy continue unabated, as though they’re no threat to tomorrow. Popular discourse is lacking in sound or alternative messages. Two recent books by ‘believers’ in anthropogenic climate change offer clues as to why public attitudes are generally so apathetic.

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