But as I hinted last night, I am part of a small but growing group of philosophers who recognise the dangers of a phioosopher who sits in a room by themself deductively solving the world crises. The way to avoid cultural and political irrelevance is to ground the research process in the messy reality of human communities and real ecologies.
I think that the scientific community has been learning something similar from the failure of the IPCC process, and as a result we have new energy being directed towards the "human dimension" of climate change. This is a broadening out of the cultural and empirical basis for measuring environmental change and its impacts, an attempt to participate in the broader re-orientation of environmental science to integrate the environmental humanities.
So in many ways, the kind of work I am doing is an exercise in translation for the various stakeholders involved in British policy reactions to climate change. Rooted in reflection on the political dimensions of our action, here are a few examples of what this looks like in practice:
- Against the abstractive, nationalistic tendencies of cc mitigatin policy I am developing a series of digital datasets and maps of low-carbon community groups in the UK and eventually Europe.
Churches and Conservation Map
All groups in Britain
- Against the overly mathematized process of biological field recording in the UK, I am working with amateur biological field recorders, who in almost every case in their work are registering declining and degraded ecosystems, to augment their empirical domain to include presence and haunting in the landscape, and the presence of grief in their experience of the landscape.
- In a similar way, I am working with architects, urban planners, and local community leaders in the W Midlands to integrate an account of spiritual landscapes in their planning work on urban green space.
- And I am in the midst of long-term fieldwork with eco-churches, a'rocha groups, and Ecocongregations to better understand whether and why their work is different from other secular groups and then to communicate this to policy makers and environmental infrastructure who largely ignore them.