Climate change is a defining issue of our time for which the immediate, as well as potential future scope, causes enormous impediments to human understanding and comprehension. It is argued here that humans ought to make wise use of their capacity of thinking, language, and communication in working on the task of responsible action. Required is nothing less than moving out of “thoughtlessness”, an unresponsiveness and ignorance in particular towards certain environmental problems. As human beings, we are a species on this planet that is uniquely capable to think and foresee potential consequences and hold power to induce change in our actions. It is up to human beings to confront challenges such as climate change, to consider what has been critically assessed in thought and reflect on potential responses. Crucial in this dialogue is the ability to take the standpoint of the other –– including that of species as well as ecosystems –– in the human imagination. It also means to develop a sensibility for the other in making sense of the world that today is largely shaped by humans. Throughout history, narratives, stories, images, and artistic expressions have all played a key role in imaginative ventures that allow the mind to imagine the past, present, and future. Language and communication can serve comprehension of an issue like climate change and provide a path to developing responsible responses to abstract problems of complex global future dimensions.
Chapter I – The Question
Chapter II – Thinking Unprecedented Challenges
Chapter III – Narrated Time and Climate Change
Chapter IV – The World Looks at Us
Chapter V – Elemental Vivacity
Chapter VI – Visions of the Future
Chapter VII – Ecological Wisdom
Chapter VIII – Prudent Action
Eva Maria Räpple is a professor of philosophy at the College of DuPage.
"In her compelling book, Eva Maria Räpple challenges us to think beyond scientific explanations and predictions concerning climate change. She calls on us to engage with our imagination, with stories, poetry, and works of art, in order to reclaim the powerful explanatory and moral insights of the imagination."
– Tama Weisman, Dominican University
"Eva Maria Räpple performs the great service of helping us understand some of the many challenges of climate change: to our perception, comprehension and thinking, powers of communication, and the very frameworks and values that guide our lives. In profound and timely meditations, she explores metaphors, images, and stories as resources to address these challenges that catalyze the imagination and provoke new possibilities of thinking and acting. This text is a gift to any of us who strive to communicate about climate change as a contribution towards a more just and sustainable world."
– William Edelglass, Marlboro College