Time Factor

Climate change = culture change: the hugeness of the challenge

We tend to talk about the idea of cultural change without thinking through what that means. The size of the job of retooling society to achieve an ecological age by 2050  is immense.

Emerging from the 20th century, it’s hard not to see this as a fundamentally Orwellian task.  However, if we do embrace the idea that culture has a responsiblity to move forwads, we have to start thinking in practical cutural realities. I recommend reading the working paperCulture|Futures Cultural Transformations for a Cultural Age by 2050 edited by Olaf Gerlach-Hansen which was released yesterday. It begins the ambitious process of evaluating if we even have the means by which we get from here to there.

The degree and scope of the cultural challenge is … exacerbated by how little time we have to bring about change. The transformation must be completed globally in 40 years, which in terms of comprehensive cultural transformations is an extremely short period – just a generation or two at most.

The time factor adds to the number of challenges concerning identity, lifestyle and habits to be addressed, since the entire world will vividly remember its old version, while developing the new.

That’s only a quick flavour of the paper which served as a working document to kickstart yestereday’s symposium…

Download the PDF [2.43MB] here.

Illustration: Glowing Climate

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology