P09
The anthropology of climate change: a challenge for humanity and the discipline in the 21st century

Convenors:
Hans Baer (University of Melbourne)
Kay Milton (Queen's University, Belfast)
Chair:
Kay Milton
Location:
C
Start time:
10 December, 2008 at 8:30
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

Climate change is arguably the most serious environmental issue ever faced, in terms of its potential impact on human societies. We are seeking papers that demonstrate anthropology's contribution to the discourse on climate change from both ethnographic and theoretical perspectives.

Long abstract:

This session is a follow-up to the one on 'The Anthropology of Global Warming: Processes of Adaptation and Mitigation', convened at the 2007 Australian Anthropological Society conference. Climate change is arguably the most serious environmental issue ever faced, in terms of its potential impact on human societies. Climatologists' predictions suggest that many currently populated areas could experience major changes to their ecosystems during the next century, making some of them uninhabitable. We are seeking papers that demonstrate anthropology's contribution to the discourse on climate change from both ethnographic and theoretical perspectives. Anthropologists are well aware that socio-cultural systems do not last for ever, either at the local, national, regional, or even global level. Some anthropologists and other scholars, as well as social activists, have argued that any serious effort to mitigate the effects of climate change requires a paradigm shift in organisation of the present global political economy from a system oriented primarily to profit-making and economic growth to one committed to processes of social parity, democracy, and environmental sustainability. Bearing these thoughts in mind, we envisage papers on the following themes: • Anthropology of the future: what human societies and cultures will/should be like in a warmer world. • How communities respond to dramatic changes in their environment on a scale comparable with those predicted to take place as the climate changes. • What motivates people to change their behaviour and how they might be persuaded to do so. • Analyses of the discourse of climate change.