Wobbly Ground: climate, chaos and creativity paper

For the last 100, 000 years, a crazily jumping climate has been the rule, not the the exception” – Alley (2000)


I’m currently working on an idea for a paper based on the idea that if the climate is not the static and unwavering phenomenon we once believed it to be, but a dynamic and volatile entity which we ourselves have made unstable.

To me, the climate change discourse appears very dichotomous and didactic, “anthropogenic climate change vs natural” “adaptation vs mitigation” – we seem so caught up in taking sides that there is very little movement to really think about what is happening, and how we deal with the changes to our environment that is just around the corner. Many authors (Mike Hulme, Lorraine Whitmarsh, Hilary Geoghegan to name a few) are arguing for a more nuanced look at the ways that people think about their climate.

While much of cultural geography focuses on the ‘human’ and the construction of knowledge and indeed realities, I’m really interested in how we address the rest of physical reality, that which does not easily relate to us? For instance, how can we engage with the findings of physical science? Which leads onto a question of how much environmental science people ‘need’ to know? And, underlying this, is the question of how people do in fact ‘know’ their environment, if not through scientific data – then what are our everyday & cultural understandings of climate?

I’ve been looking at the work of Elizabeth Grosz, Donna Haraway, Kathryn Yusoff and Nigel Clark to experiment with how we can use art and creativity to directly engage with geological forces, and those things that are too big, too small, too fast or too slow to commonly influence our everyday lives.

3:44 pm