Dirty Secrets and Wicked Problems
My latest column in the New School Free Press came out this week. You can read the whole piece right here. I’m posting a teaser below as an update.
It’s generally considered taboo to talk about the end of industrial civilization, whether in academic circles or informal gatherings over drinks. It’s only slightly less taboo to talk about the end of capitalism (even here at The New School). I won’t even begin to mention overpopulation, which makes the two earlier taboos pale in comparison. Raising these issues immediately gets you labeled a climate extremist, or worse. Yet it’s precisely our collective unwillingness to seriously discuss the wicked problem of climate that is ensuring a future scenario of global catastrophes.
Over the past months I have been in numerous discussions about climate change at The New School, with topics ranging from fossil fuel divestment and extreme weather to melting Himalayan glaciers and the latest climate mitigation strategies. But in none of these discussions are folks talking about the real root problem, which is industrial civilization. I’m not sure if people can’t imagine such a scenario or instead reject the basic premise that industrial civilizations could fail, but either way we are in denial. Whatever the cause, the result is the same—we refuse to openly discuss the magnitude of climate change risks in the coming years and our complete inability to adapt to this coming future.
Read the whole piece right here.
Until next time…let’s hear it for optimism!