Our Emerging Cultural Shift: Regaining the Moral Case to Address Climate Change

Behavioral Scientist, September 30, 2019

Ross School of Business Paper No. 1394

21 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2019

See all articles by Andrew John Hoffman

Andrew John Hoffman

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Date Written: October 2019


Today, we have made climate change trivial by making its solutions easy, looking for simple answers that are palatable, generally framing it in the language of commerce. In the long run, it won’t work. There is no technological or political silver bullet to solving our environmental problems. While important in the short term, Elon Musk and the power of the market alone will not save us in the long term. In the long term, we will have to change the way we think. Without systemic changes in our culture and values, we will never recover from the destructive path on which we are embarked. This warning becomes all the more urgent as we find ourselves facing a new scale of environmental problems in what scientists are calling the Anthropocene, an era that requires a fundamental change in the intellectual, cultural and psychological conceptions of who we are as humans, what is the world around us, and how the two are intertwined. And to that end, solutions must be found in religion and philosophy. If the collective responsibility we need in the Anthropocene is connected to the teachings of the Bible, Torah, Quran, Bhagavad-gītā, Tripitaka and oral traditions of indigenous peoples, or the philosophies of Aurelius, Locke, Voltaire, Madison, Wordsworth, Thoreau, and Russell, then the world can change on its axis. It has happened before and with great upheaval, and it can happen again. But it will involve a culture shift as grand and sweeping as the Enlightenment, Reformation or Scientific Revolution.

Keywords: Climate Change, Anthropocene, Culture, Religion, Philosophy, Enlightenment Best

Suggested Citation

Hoffman, Andrew John, Our Emerging Cultural Shift: Regaining the Moral Case to Address Climate Change (October 2019). Behavioral Scientist, September 30, 2019; Ross School of Business Paper No. 1394. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3463797 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3463797

Andrew John Hoffman (Contact Author)

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street, R4390
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States
734.763.9455 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.andrewhoffman.net/

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