9 Responses

  1. avatar
    Tom Baumann at |

    This article is helpful to increase awareness of the importance of new KM strategies to advance climate change activities. I recommend checking the Global Solution Networks (www.gsnetworks.org) that has done a lot of research into new collaborative solutions and has also developed a good a hub of “climate and sustainability GSNs” that are categorized according to specific issues and different types of GSNs.

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    1. avatar
      Bruce Boyes at |

      Tom many thanks for the information on the Global Solutions Network, I hadn’t been aware of it. There’s good information there on collaborative approaches, but I think we need to take things a step further to be able to reduce climate science denial. Most collaborative approaches assume that the targets of collaboration will be cooperative, or at least receptive to the ideas being put forward. However, this is not the case with climate science, where some people at least seriously doubt the science, sometimes to the point of hostility. The issue of the target of our communications being far more complex than we’ve been assuming is discussed in the paper by Hodge that I reference in the article. For an example of the types of approaches I think we need to explore see http://realkm.com/2015/10/29/case-study-knowledge-transfer-sharing-collaborative-learning-governance/ This work was related to sustainable landscapes rather than climate change, but as with climate science there was considerable stakeholder opposition to the initiatives that were being advanced.

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  2. avatar

    Dear Bruce,

    although climate change denial may be largely a matter of willful ignorance, as a matter of being “against climate change” or as a matter of denying by economic forces threatened by its truth, I am presently more worried by two other issues.

    – there are at present raging strong arguments in internet discussions (for example on ResearchGate) that do not deny climate change but show calculations that natural sources of greenhouse gasses are more important than anthropogenic ones in the ratio of 80% natural and 20% caused by mankind.

    However those arguing that way do not show where IPCC has been wrong, while I am not clever enough to show where they are wrong. When I asked in such a discussion about the above scientific underscoring, they fall still.

    If there would be any truth in those calculations, whatever we planned to do in Paris is dwarfed by these natural causes.

    – secondly I am much bothered by scores of recent individual reports on new natural sources of greenhouse gasses caused by global warming itself, with strong positive feedbacks. Melting ice releasing trapped methane, thawing permafrost releasing carbon dioxide, deeper layers of coastal waters releasing chemically methane, smoldering peat soils releasing greenhouse gasses, ocean bottoms doing so in numerous plumes that may be new due to a warming ocean floor etc. One of these was calculated with an annual amount in the same order of magnitude as the US annual contribution to increasing greenhouse gases. All these examples I read in the weekly “environmentalresearchweb” issues of the last two years or so. I now wished I had actually jotted them down (some I posted on http://www.agrometeorology.org, the website of INSAM) but scientists better placed than I am should really do new calculations on the to be expected sum of these new natural sources of greenhouse gasses, including their positive feedbacks.

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    1. avatar
      Bruce Boyes at |

      Many thanks Kees for your comment. The work you’ve done with farmers looks very interesting, for example http://www.inclusiveinnovationhub.com/courses/24 Your activities look to have a strong focus on both knowledge brokering and social learning, which are the recommended approaches I discuss in the article. What has been the attitude of the farmers you have worked with to climate science? Have the farmers been more accepting of the science after you’ve engaged with them?

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      1. avatar

        Yes Bruce, we (Prof. Yunita T. Winarto, an Indonesian anthropologist at the Universitas Indonesia, Depok, near Jakarta, her students and myself) have very much gone along the lines of “extension is bringing new knowledge to farmers”.

        We have introduced “agrometeorological learning” as what farmers do in meetings that we call “Science Field Shops” and where we particularly have listened a lot to detail their vulnerabilities to climate. We work in coastal west Java already for more than five years and since a bit more than a year in East Lombok. In long dialogues we jointly found what knowledge these farmers need and how they can use it to build a stronger resilience to climate change. This way we came a lot closer to what knowledge farmers actually need.
        Among that knowledge our monthly updated climate prediction as a “seasonal rainfall scenario” appeared increasingly successful over the past three years notwithstanding the uncertainties that we explain such predictions to have.

        At the very basis of our monthly Science Field Shops is a daily rainfall measurement all farmers make in their own plots. This has been and still is a real Knowledge Transfer and Communication Technology (KTCT) for farmer communities because it shows how variable climate is in space and time. This makes it possible to warn for the expected increasing climate variability. The floods in January 2014 followed by a long advance towards the present El Nino strengthened drought we explained as an example of increasing numbers and sometimes also more serious weather and climate extreme events. This is believable because they experience it. They also therefore accept our explanations behind this climate future. We have recently posted quite a number of papers showing this approach and farmers’ acceptation in detail on ResearchGate. However, how I have to deal with the other issues in my original comment, I do not know.

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  3. avatar
    Mark Trexler at |

    It’s not entirely clear that overcoming denial is necessarily the “need” or the “possibility” when it comes to KM. If people already convinced of, or amenable to being convinced of, the need to address climate change could be gotten “the right information at the right time” there is little question but that our response to climate change would be fundamentally different. Overcoming “denial” is much more challenging.

    A student of KM tools and potential for a long time, I’m intrigued by the idea that KM can help with climate change. There is the “Knowledge Networks” work that Tom refers to, and there is all of the work that the Climate Knowledge Brokers are engaged in (re the Manifesto you refer to in the piece). But at the end of the day, is it possible to get “get the right information to the right person at the right time?” It’s a huge challenge.

    Using our Climate Web KM tool for climate risk, I did a webinar last week on exactly this question that is accessible here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ5WI_4wqqo&feature=youtu.be Feedback welcome!

    (BTW, if you put a website address in where it asks for it you can’t post).

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  4. avatar
    Bruce Boyes at |

    Many thanks Mark for your comment. The impact of denial on climate change decision-making in Australia has been very significant, so I think that reducing it is highly desirable if possible. If I think about the people in my networks, most of those who “don’t believe in climate change” think this way because of a lack of knowledge and awareness about climate science which has left them open to influence by very vocal climate-denying politicians, media, and business representatives. Had the people in my networks had an adequate knowledge of climate science in the first place, then I think far fewer of them would have been negatively influenced. But as you say, getting the right information to the right person at the right time is a challenge. Thank you for the webinar link – I look forward to watching it and to further discussion.

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    1. avatar
      Stephen Bounds at |

      Actually, the research shows that you need to treat the process of changing people’s minds quite differently depending on their perspective. A person’s level of interest (how much they know) and attachment (how much they are personally invested in that knowledge) are both very relevant in determining how to approach the problem (see https://realkm.com/2015/11/10/how-to-change-peoples-minds/).

      I do think that a majority of people have low interest in climate change, but care about the impact on them. By this I mean that they don’t want to understand the mechanics.

      The problem is that this makes people disproportionately likely to attach themselves to the trusted views of a third party. This trusted party should have been the scientific community, but they made a fatal flaw by conflating the reporting of climate science with their preferred policy response. (Although it was well-intended, I believe that Gore made this problem worse by associating himself — as a prominent politician — with the science of climate change.)

      When you advocate a particular policy response, you are no longer a scientist but a lobbyist. And the views of lobbyists in today’s media-savvy world are treated with extreme suspicion.

      The key communications challenge for the scientific community is how to either re-establish trust with the community, or to find another party with trusted credentials to provide an independent evaluation. This doesn’t mean that existing communication efforts should stop, but a good start would be for the scientific community to stop talking about policy responses.

      Even still I could see the benefits in getting an independent evaluation by a credible body — which in Australia probably means the Productivity Commission.

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  5. avatar
    Bruce Boyes at |

    Thanks Stephen for your comment. Yes, the scientific community conflating the reporting of climate science with their preferred policy response is a critical issue. Andrew Campbell discusses it in the opinion piece “From advice to advocacy: scientists in the political arena” – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-15/campbell-scientists-in-the-political-arena/4574478

    Illustrating the danger of scientists crossing the line between analysis and advocacy is the “gloom and doom” aspect of many of the advocacy positions. Underpinning them is the notion of collapse: the “belief in a mythical time when humanity lived in harmony with nature” and “the idea of overshoot, the metaphor that humanity is hurtling down a road at 100 km/hr towards a cliff” – http://theconversation.com/want-to-save-the-environment-lets-leave-the-collapse-porn-under-the-mattress-51575

    This “collapse” approach just alienates and disempowers people. It has also led to the drawing of wrong conclusions, for example as discussed in http://realkm.com/2015/11/03/collapse-of-the-easter-island-ecocide-theory/

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