Imagination, Not Science, Is The Key To Solving Climate Change

Artists Impressions- Human Perturbation Of Carbon Cycle. © Global Carbon Project I Glynn Gorick

This article has been picked up and widely reported around the web and that’s great as long as it continues to have my name on it with a link to my website.  (And if you like it, please help this work continue) — Stephen

By Stephen Leahy

VANCOUVER, Canada, Feb 20, 2012 (IPS)

Humanity’s failure to halt the deepening planetary emergency of climate change, extinctions of species and overconsumption of resources is a failure of imagination and mistaken beliefs that we act rationally.

The path to a truly sustainable future is through the muddy waters of emotions, values, ethics and most importantly, imagination, said artists and social scientists at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference here in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“We don’t live in the real world but live only in the world we imagine,” said David Maggs, a concert pianist and Phd student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Our perception of reality is filtered by our personal experiences and values. That’s why the “if we only knew better, we’d do better” education and communication paradigm isn’t working, Maggs said. The underlying assumption that a failure to become more sustainable is the result of a lack of information is flawed, he told attendees at what is the world’s largest general science meeting.

“We live in our heads. We live in storyland,” agrees John Robinson of UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability.

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“When we talk about sustainability we are talking about the future, how things could be. This is the landscape of imagination,” Robinson told IPS. “If we can’t imagine a better world we won’t get it.”

This imagining will be complex and difficult. Sustainability encompasses far more than just scientific facts – it also incorporates the idea of how we relate to nature and to ourselves, he said.

“We haven’t yet grasped the depth of changes that are coming.” Continue reading

Canadian Scientists Denounce Climate Change Denial, Government Censorship

read the report here

Canadian media coverage of climate change has fallen by 80 percent

By Stephen Leahy

VANCOUVER, Canada, Feb 21, 2012 (IPS)

Amid revelations of a well-funded U.S. organisation’s plans to deliberately distort climate science, scientists and journalists at a major scientific conference called on the Canadian government to stop its muzzling of scientists.

For the past four years, the Canadian government has been denying timely access to government scientists even when their findings are published in leading scientific journals, said scientists and journalists in a special session of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science meeting here in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“The Canadian public doesn’t know as much as they could about science and climate change,” said Margaret Munro, who is a science writer for Postmedia News, based in Vancouver.

“The more controversial the story, the less likely you are to talk to the scientists,” Munro told IPS.

Last year, journalists from around the world were denied access to Canadian government scientist Kristi Miller, who had published a groundbreaking paper on the decline of salmon populations in western Canada in the journal Science.

However, lobbyists for the oil and gas industry appear to have direct access to scientists, according to emails obtained under access to information legislation. Internal government documents reported an 80-percent decline in Canadian media coverage of climate change since 2007 when the new Stephen Harper Conservative government put restrictive policies into place.

“It is unacceptable that the Canadian public sits back and allows access to the science they’re funding to be denied them,” said Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria.
Continue reading