Responding to Climate Change: The Need for an Integral ApproachRead More (PDF): Here
By Karen O’Brien
Climate change is now recognized as one of the most challenging and complex problems facing humanity -- the problem is real, the stakes are high, and there is no single solution. No measure will be met with the instant gratification that is often expected by people in modern, high-energy consumption societies…
In this article I discuss why an integral approach is not only necessary for addressing climate change, but urgent. I argue that an emphasis on understanding climate change from an objective, systems perspective has downplayed the importance of subjective, interior dimensions of climate change, when in fact the integration of both aspects is needed. I then present six reasons why an integral approach can be considered both useful and necessary for responding to climate change.
Finally, I consider what integral theory might offer to current policy debates about one of the world's climate change hot spots -- the Arctic region.
KAREN O’BRIEN is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oslo and lead author of the adaptation chapter of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.