Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Conversation has published a gem of an article, aimed at people suffering climate “guilt”, to help them philosophically come to terms with the fact that they are experiencing emotional distress, about events which haven’t happened
According to The Conversation;
Do you suffer from climate guilt? A dose of philosophy can help
People cannot engage in something they cannot see or feel. We need concrete reasons to care and act. In this way, climate change presents a threefold intangible challenge:
1. we can perceive the weather, but the climate system is something rather abstract, a statistical construct
2. we now know climate change is anthropogenic, or man-made, but how can we understand this? One way is to say: mankind is the reason, but this becomes also very abstract. Who actually is represented with mankind? Another way is to say: China or the US is to blame, as if we are speaking of subjects and not concepts. We cannot grasp how you and I contribute to climate change, not by doing something extraordinary, but with our everyday lives
3. we cannot perceive how we as individuals can contribute to mitigating climate change. Eighteenth-century philosopher George Berkeley stated that “To be is to be perceived.” If we can’t see the change in the climate system, nor the reason why it is actually occurring, does it exist in our daily lives?
My favourite takeaway soundbite is the following;
… Furthermore, climate is not here and now. Its only possible way to be perceived is through recognition of patterns, by computer modeling and, most importantly, through representations. …
The author of this article is Luis Fernández Carril, Faculty member at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).