by adam on April 19, 2009
Don’t miss this fascinating article in the New York Times, “Why Isn’t the Brain Green?” You can read it for itself, but then you hit paragraphs like this:
It isn’t immediately obvious why such studies are necessary or even valuable. Indeed, in the United States scientific community, where nearly all dollars for climate investigation are directed toward physical or biological projects, the notion that vital environmental solutions will be attained through social-science research — instead of improved climate models or innovative technologies — is an aggressively insurgent view. You might ask the decision scientists, as I eventually did, if they aren’t overcomplicating matters. Doesn’t a low-carbon world really just mean phasing out coal and other fossil fuels in favor of clean-energy technologies, domestic regulations and international treaties? None of them disagreed. Some smiled patiently. But all of them wondered if I had underestimated the countless group and individual decisions that must precede any widespread support for such technologies or policies. “Let’s start with the fact that climate change is anthropogenic,” Weber told me one morning in her Columbia office. “More or less, people have agreed on that. That means it’s caused by human behavior. That’s not to say that engineering solutions aren’t important. But if it’s caused by human behavior, then the solution probably also lies in changing human behavior.”
and ask…can we just substitute in security? One of the key messages in the New School (the book) is in the chapter “Amateurs study cryptography, professionals study economics.”
It’s a great article. I would suggest that we need a New School of Environmental Sciences, but 20 years ago, I was taking an environmental science course of study that included chemistry and biology, along with economics psychology and public policy.
It’s almost enough to make you wonder if Kuhn was right.