Models and metaphors in overcoming resistance to climate change science

Paper


Harrison, Karey. 2011. "Models and metaphors in overcoming resistance to climate change science." Vega, Gloria (ed.) SSEE 2011: Escaping Silos. Brisbane, Australia 24 - 26 Oct 2011 Canberra, Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Models and metaphors in overcoming resistance to climate change science

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorHarrison, Karey
EditorsVega, Gloria
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the Society for Sustainability and Environmental Engineering International Conference (SSEE 2011)
Year2011
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://www.ssee2011conference.com/abstract/44.asp
Conference/EventSSEE 2011: Escaping Silos
Event Details
SSEE 2011: Escaping Silos
Event Date
24 to end of 26 Oct 2011
Event Location
Brisbane, Australia
Abstract

Objective: This paper will show how the use of cognitive models and metaphors in climate change communication overcomes resistance to action on climate change.
Methods: This paper draws on my research on the role of metaphor and models in human reasoning. Using metaphoric analysis and participant action research, this paper will examine case studies such as my use of cognitive models in teaching into ENG2002 Technology, Sustainability and Society, and in my work as an Al Gore Climate presenter – giving climate presentations to over 2000 people in professional, business and community organisations; and academic conference presentations on economics and climate change.
In these presentations I use metaphoric analyses of the ontological commitments of Lovelock's and Club of Rome's systems models to test and challenge the ontological commitments of objectivist–logico-empiricist, mechanistic and atomistic models of self, society, democratic theory and practice, economics, energy resources, ethics, journalism practice and media reporting, philosophy of language, communication theory, social science and science research methodology.
Results & Conclusion: The use of contrasting concrete models and metaphors is an effective means for producing 'gestalt shifts' in the ways people think about issues. In relation to climate change in particular, the use of ecological models like Lovelock's Daisy World model, confronts audiences with their dependence on complex life systems on this planet, and with the fact that we are dangerously modifying those systems. This changes how people think about the earth system, and hence how they will choose to act.

Keywordsanti-climate change; influences; communication; metaphor
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020370201. Climate change processes
500303. Decision theory
520499. Cognitive and computational psychology not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsAustralian Centre for Sustainable Catchments
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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