The problem of climate change is so big, so complex, and so politicized, it is almost impossible to know what to think about it, let alone what to do. Michael Zimmerman, co-author of Integral Ecology, helps cut through the partiality and propaganda that are so rampant on both sides of the argument, offering a more sober perspective on the current status of the climate change debate as he and Ken discuss his recent essay “Including and Differentiating Among Perspectives: An Integral Approach to Climate Change.”
Is climate change really humanity’s number one issue in the 21st century?
The problem of climate change is so big, so complex, and so politicized, it is almost impossible to know what to think about it, let alone what to do. Michael Zimmerman, co-author of Integral Ecology, helps cut through the partiality and propaganda that are so rampant on both sides of the argument, offering a more sober perspective on the current status of the climate change debate.
The question isn’t whether or not climate change is real—it almost certainly is—but rather to what extent are we responsible? How do we adapt to it? And most importantly, how do we prioritize our actions while considering the many other grave crises that we are currently faced with? Poverty, famine, disease, slavery, trafficking—these are just some of the plights that are already creating a massive amount of suffering for billions of people, right now, as opposed to 50-100 years in the future when the truly devastating effects of climate change are predicted to occur.
How can we overcome our current political and scientific gridlock, and begin taking genuine steps toward practical solutions?
As Michael and Ken point out, climate scientists and environmentalists often work against their own cause in many major ways: through overly hyperbolic and politicized rhetoric, through anti-modernist and anti-technological prejudices, through scientific arrogance and over-reach, and through consistent failure to take all the necessary perspectives and methodologies into account. All of these have contributed to the hostile backlash we so often see in today’s media and political stump speeches, with accusations that range from flawed research and faulty science to outright fraud, deceit, and New World Order conspiracy theories.
From our values and worldviews, to our our policies and political processes, to our modes of production and economic realities, to our shared responsibilities and obligations; to our deepest yearnings, questions, and inspirations, and all the way to the very heart of human suffering—climate change touches all the most fundamental dimensions of our shared humanity, which is why anything less than an integral approach will only add to the confusion, and ultimately make matters worse.
So what is an integral ecologist—or an integral citizen of this world, for that matter—to do? Michael and Ken have some really good ideas. Listen to find out what they are!
About Michael Zimmerman
Michael E. Zimmerman is professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has written several essays about integral theory, with special emphasis on integral ecology Michael Zimmerman and Sean Esbjorn-Hargens have co-authored a book called Integral Ecology.
About Ken Wilber
Ken Wilber is a preeminent scholar of the Integral stage of human development. He is an internationally acknowledged leader, founder of Integral Institute, and co-founder of Integral Life. Ken is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative world philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.