The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: setting hope against pessimism in an epoch of existential crises

 

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The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: setting hope against pessimism in an epoch of existential crises

Paul Behrens, Assistant Professor in Energy and Environmental Change, Univ. Leiden

 

Date: 26 June 2019

Location: Zoology Lecture Theatre,Zoology Research and Administration Building 11a Mansfield Rd Oxford OX1 3SZ 


Communicating environmental science is fraught with danger, from dystopian hyperbole to Panglossian visions of techno-optimism. Most popular science books are either overtly optimistic or abjectly negative (the latter with a slight inflection of concluding optimism so you don’t completely lose hope!). There is a growing public appreciation that unprecedented upheavals will be necessary if we are to live within ecological limits, but many struggle to understand what this might look like in practice.

In Paul Behrens forthcoming book, The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, he interleaves chapters on pessimism and hope for themes ranging from energy, food, climate, and the economy. The book explores the implications of these changes and paints pessimistic and hopeful pictures of how they will alter our philosophies and change the way we live.

 

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