Learning to Live with the Trickster: Narrating Climate Change and the Value of Resilience Thinking
46 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2016 Last revised: 22 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 21, 2016
The world around us is changing. How humans understand and frame this new world of continuous, unprecedented, multiple-sector, multiple-scale, and often unpredictable change matters considerably to how we experience that change and how well we continue to interact with ecological systems. Unfortunately, however, cultural narratives in the dominant U.S. culture don't match the Anthropocene and climate change.
This article, based on my 2015 Lloyd K. Garrison Distinguished Lecture in Environmental Law at the Pace University School of Law, examines how American culture narrates the myriad and often complex and unpredictable alterations that climate change is bringing to our global systems, particularly in terms of environmental and natural resources law and policy. Focusing on tricksters, it posits that framing climate change as one incarnation of a mythological trickster can give us a better cultural narrative framework for thinking about environmental, natural resources, and energy law and policy in a climate change era. The trickster narrative can helpfully displace the dominant engineering framework that informs most of American environmental, natural resources, and energy law and policy and open the way to a more productive policy context based on ecological resilience and resilience thinking.
Keywords: Climate change, narrative, trickster, resilience thinking, environmental law, natural resources law, panarchy
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