Wednesday, 5 September 2012

MONEY AND THE EPISTEMOLOGIES OF IGNORANCE CONCERNING CLIMATE CHANGE CHERYL LANS, VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA Part of the reason why there has been little consensus on how climate change should be addressed is due to the “human exemptionalism paradigm” born in Enlightenment thinking which allows scientists to claim that they can remake or replace nature with technology and thus transcend nature (Goldman and Schurman 2000; Merchant 1980; Mies and Shiva 1993; Salleh 1997). Goldman and Schurman (2000) wrote that tools such as environmental impact assessments and green cost-benefit analyses which form part of the scientific discourse around climate change reflect newly contrived universal norms and models which reflect the perspective of Western scientists. In contrast to the dualisms of Enlightenment thinking, environmental feminists have theorized social-natural relations in terms of ecological embeddedness, reflexive awareness and biological embodiment. Nature has to be included alongside capital and labor as fundamental economic categories (O’ Connor 2008). 5. GENDER AND CLIMATE CHANGE Terry (2009) claims that the mainstream policy discourse of climate change is stereotypically masculine- consisting of computer models, neoclassical economic approaches like carbon trading and quick fix technologies. While not completely agreeing I would add nuclear energy to this list (Mummy will clean up the messy nuclear waste). The majority of the politicians and businessmen involved in the climate change dispute, and in the Super Pac donations mentioned above are men. Ross (2008) found that oil-dominated economies in the Middle East, Azerbaijan, Russia, Chile, Botswana and Nigeria had repressive gender policies because of the oil wealth, which boosted male dominated construction (golf courses) and services but suppressed alternative manufacturing which served as career entry points for women (like sewing). Lisa Blaydes and Drew Linzer (2007) found that lack of economic opportunity led women to embrace fundamentalist belief systems in order to make themselves more marriageable (marriage becoming their main economic support). Few national leaders are female and only 15% of the scientists involved in the IPCC assessment report were female. Gender issues were described on half a page in the 2007 IPCC report (Quraishi 2009). Terry (2009) also discusses gendered vulnerability in which women are seen as victims of unpredictable weather, agricultural and health conditions but they are not seen as providers of solutions to climate change. Krugman (2009b) addressed the masculinity concerns behind climate change resistance in a few blog posts: “First, environmentalism is the ultimate “Mommy party” issue. Real men punish evildoers; they don’t adjust their lifestyles to protect the planet. An important part of the population just doesn’t want to believe in the kind of world in which we have to limit our appetites on the say-so of fancy experts. And so they angrily deny the whole thing.”.. “Conservatives seem deeply offended by anything that challenges the image of Americans as big men driving big cars” (Krugman 2009a). He refers to the gender findings from the 2006 American Environmental Values survey and the 2008 American Climate Values Survey. The women surveyed were more likely to want to address climate change. Men were less concerned about global warming and thought that addressing it would result in negative personal and economic consequences. Traditional male-dominated industries – coal, petroleum, and other environmentally destructive status quo industries were seen as manly and macho.