Stephanie LeMenager | Climate Citizenship and the Humanities || Radcliffe Institute

Stephanie LeMenager | Climate Citizenship and the Humanities || Radcliffe Institute


[MUSIC PLAYING] – When we ask ourselves now,
why we need the humanities? Part of the answer
to that question is because we need
to think about how to survive into a future
that is unprecedented, in terms of the
climate conditions that limit our thriving. And my belief is that
climate change challenges what it means to be human
more than any other ecological problem we’ve ever experienced
in the lifetime of the species. So I’m curious to
find out for myself, but also for others,
for my students, and just for the
broader public, where can we see some practicable
solutions about how to be the best kinds
of climate citizens– which is an international
planetary kind of citizenship, how to act ethically
and with empathy in conditions that might involve
certain kinds of scarcity that we haven’t seen before– –and also how to remain
democratic, as a culture, here in the United States, when
we’re being pressed very hard around questions of
resource scarcity, new forms of globalization
that have changed our economy profoundly– and also, I think
inequities, in terms of who is affected
by climate burdens, that help exacerbate
problems such as racism. I think it’s really
great that the Radcliffe Institute and that
Harvard University is supporting cultural
work that addresses this kind of planetary problem. And I hope– because
I’m a Harvard graduate. I got my PhD here– that Harvard continues
as it has been to be a leader in
really addressing the problem of being human in
the age of climate change– –and letting this be
at the center of work in the social sciences
and the humanities so that the
scientists don’t have to bear the entire burden
of communication on an issue that it seems is getting more
and more difficult to speak about in public. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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