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

The Future of Journalism: Adopt a Muckraker

“Should you and I pay for the kind of accurate news reporting that is needed to fill us in on what is happening to the planet?

If we’re not willing to pick up the tab to stay better informed, who will?”

Renowned Swiss journalist Daniel Wermus and Director of the Media21 Global Journalism Network in Geneva asks those questions in an April 2010 article about my launch of Community Supported Journalism in 2009. [Updated from Sept 2010] — Stephen

Frontline Earth: Adopt a Muckraker?

By Daniel Wermus

I meet international freelance journalists quite often. Most make it clear that budget cuts have made it increasingly difficult for just about anyone, especially freelancers, to get into print. It is usually the freelancers who are most willing to risk their lives to get the stories that need reporting the most. If the day arrives when they can no longer carry out their professions, we will all have a serious problem.

Muckraker: A reporter or writer who investigates and publishes reports involving a host of social issues, broadly including crime and corruption

Stephen Leahy, a Canadian, and one of the world’s best-known investigative reporters on environmental issues, has launched a challenge: if corporations won’t pay for the news, then it is up to communities and the public to fill the gap. A free society needs journalism, even if reporting the news is not commercially profitable.

Leahy’s model for supporting the news has the journalist make his pitch over the internet. The completed article can then be distributed by news agencies or magazines that are low on funds but high on public interest. That could be IPS, Reuters-Alertnet, Commondreams, InfoSud, The Essential Edge or any number of other publications and news outlets.

[edit: Wermus concludes] Continue reading