It’s a rare day when the news doesn’t cover something related to climate change, whether biodiversity loss, climate refugees, retreating glaciers, or an extreme weather event. Though it’s broadly accepted that climate change is caused by “us,” at some level, we often assume the solutions are covered and controlled by experts, especially natural scientists, engineers, national governments, and international organizations. In that sense, climate change is not in our hands, even as it lies at our feet. Another tendency of the daily climate change reminders is to suggest that we are all in this together. That this is a global challenge, and that we stand shoulder to shoulder in a global lifeboat, collectively imperiled by climate change.
These are oversimplifications.
And they boil down to five problematic “reductionisms.” In academese, we term these disciplinary, participatory, experiential, teleological, and species reductionisms.