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Understanding time in the race against climate change

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia

Image by: günter – from Pixabay


There is a fascinating article in The Conversation (Understanding time may be the key to the race against climate change by Ruth Ogden) which taps into something many of us can acknowledge and see but often feel powerless to address – humans are really bad at long-term, large scale solutions to the problems needing this approach. Some are better than others of course – witness the much longer-term planning of a centralized government like China compared to those on short-term electoral cycles like the US.

Ogden takes it further though to add another layer, again which many of us may be aware of but unsure how address it, which is that our perception of time varies both internally and between people. So time is a slippery customer (does it even exist or is it a human construct) which is difficult to attain consensus on regardless of how real or how regular it may be.

She highlights some of the reasons for time being so difficult and creating so many different reactions to the climate crisis e.g. the rich and powerful are less impacted and therefore less able to “see” the crisis yet they are the ones who need to see it to instigate our reactions to it.

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