Paradise Lost. Humboldt’s World in the Era of Climate Change
Chair: Pia-Johanna Schweizer (IASS Potsdam).
We inherited a conception of nature and our relationship to it from Humboldt that places us outside nature. This creates a set of binaries that govern our discourse: the natural and the unnatural, the natural and the man-made, the natural and the synthetic, and so on. As we confront what to do about climate change, this discourse affects actions that we take to be acceptable (e.g. planting trees) and unacceptable (e.g. geoengineering). But, I will argue, we cannot adequately address the challenges of climate change without addressing these binaries. To do so, we have to understand their "constructed" nature and understand our role as part of nature, shaping its contours over the last 10,000 years.