Changing Our High-Carbon Aesthetic: Shifting Attitudes on Climate Change
Wall Scholars Cafe
28 Jan 2009
Talk by Stephen Sheppard, Forest Resources Management and Landscape Architecture and 2009 Distinguished Scholar in Residence
This talk focuses on some aesthetic aspects of climate change, exploring relationships between human perception and causes of climate change in western cultures. It will discuss and illustrate the often overlooked socio-cultural phenomenon which we may term the "High-Carbon Aesthetic," related to concepts such as "conspicuous consumption" and prevailing aspirations for 'monster homes,' status vehicles, and imported luxury materials. By excluding from our communities the visual blight of washing lines, photovoltaics, and tree-harvesting, are we committing to additional fossil fuel usage and global warming? This talk reviews some new evidence on the role of visual media in cognition and attitudes on climate change, with particular reference to the effects of growing climate change awareness on our perceptions of environmental limits and desirable lifestyles. It speculates on the emergence or re-emergence of a "Low-Carbon Aesthetic," favouring landscapes with smaller homes and locally more self-reliant communities.
Dinner and talk 6:30 to 9:00 pm, but welcome at 6:00 pm reception.