The Role of Anthropology in Public Debates on Climate Transformations: A Virtual Conversation
Through this virtual conversation on climate transformations, PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review inaugurates a new medium complementing the Symposium on Climate Transformations. We brought together two anthropologists who work at the nexus of climate science, policy, and the differential understandings of the tropical forests in Brazil’s Amazonia. David Rojas, a contributor to the Symposium, was invited back to participate alongside Antonia Walford, whose fieldwork with the same group of climate scientists aligns her expertise with Rojas’s work.
Our conversation was organized around a central question: What contributions can Anthropology make to public conversations about climate change/climate transformations? With a look toward application, one of the objectives of the discussion was to elucidate a perspective that would more clearly link academic theories with public debates on this topic.
The discussion led to questions around how anthropology can contribute to the reconfiguration of worlds as global warming advances. Antonia indicated that looking at uncertainty in climate science provides spaces and opportunities for “slowing down” the rapidity with which we come up with “solutions” for climate change. The conversation touched on the meeting of distinct worlds in Amazonia, where differing understandings of the environment shape the way projects and policy are effected. David suggested that being aware of different cosmologies also allows us to slow down in order to talk about the different worlds we are creating. Anthropology is thus seen as particularly apt for creating spaces for different worlds to co-exist as we figure out what kind of collective future(s) we wish to build.
Guzmán Solano, Natalia, David Rojas, and Antonia Walford. The Role of Anthropology in Public Debates on Climate Transformations: A Virtual Conversation. Interview. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review Online, 30 August 2016, https://polarjournal.org/2016/08/30/the-role-of-anthropology-in-public-debates-on-climate-transformations/