I will be presenting this week at the IRAS 2017 Annual Conference on Star Island, NH. The conference theme is “The ‘Wicked’ Problem of Climate Change.”
My poster presentation “Mending our ‘Wicked’ Ways” reviews the etymology of the word wicked through five different time periods: Post-Truth, Post-Modern, Modern, Pre-Modern and Ancient. The word “wicked” has evolved radically, but the ideological frame for each of the different periods provides clues for how to address climate change.
In short, we need to build a movement that supports shared sacred values (ancient), humility and self-examination (pre-modern), individual choice / freedom from coercion (modern), personal liberty in a global community (post-modern), and collective technical and social action (post-truth).
The simple solution? We can accomplish these goals simultaneously by pricing the external costs of carbon fuels into all economic transactions. This would recognize the costs to people and natural systems impacted by climate change — implicitly validating our intrinsic value and sacred connections. Moreover, carbon pricing does not constrain freedom, and it facilitates rational choice. Setting carbon prices, however, will demand our best science and technology – and negotiating the proper use of the revenues will require consummate social skills. For these ends we need a social movement.
I will report next week on how the conference went!