A conversation with Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Nowadays seems that Climate change is a complex problem without a practical resolution. Everyone speaks about it: schools, governments, States and mass media but anyone can find a way to solve the problem and to convince human beings to act.1.png Humans need another point of view, ideas that are outside the “box”. We had this possibility thanks to a very special GG guest, T. H. Eriksen.

He is a Norwegian anthropologist and a professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo. He is also the president of the European association of Social Anthropologists. He is currently doing some research on scale and globalisation in the Seychelles; his fields of research include identity, nationalism, globalisation and identity politics.

According to his opinion, individuals go too fast in working, eating and also sleeping. The contemporary world, from the industrial revolution, has created a new way of living that is crushing us like shoes and a cockroach. We forgot the real sense of life, silence instead of busy cities or reflection rather than television.

While we produce, we are reproduce other effects.

If we talk about climate change, we are not only dealing with pollution, CO2 and global warming, natural and human activities are changing our status quo but things sometimes are not connected.

“Assume our responsibilities” can be so difficult to do because of the size of the deal.After a satisfactory introduction about the problem and the knowledge related to that, the guest made a reflection: “we knew this problem from long time ago, so why we are still here without doing anything?”

States, governments and population were aware of this situation, risks and challenges linked to it but we are “waiting” something that, in a pessimistic thinking, will never come: dedication.

It can be seen as an assumption, “you can’t save your country on your own”, but it is the truth. Eriksen stated also that there are some reasons why there is a lack of action.

Humans are not innocent, they want to intervene on a “large scale”, but there are some limitations, such as basic politics of nationalism or trade investments market. In particular, a lonely man can’t save the planet, a strong community can do it; saving all is complicated. As in the market world, in the problem-solving on climate change, you have to give up something (cost) to obtain another good (revenue).

Another reason of “non-intervention” is the lack of international collaboration among States.

The result of a long discussion about the resources of humans and the environment, concerns four bullet points about simple resolution that we need:

  1. a) “turn the information on” thanks to the positive help of social networks, spreading good methods of living in a sustainable way.
  2. b) We can’t forget the importance of technology but it is fundamental for us and we need to make positive logical changes with a wide view on the future.
  3. c) Structural changes in order to consume less. There is the need of a radical decentralization and an effective global governance.
  4. d) We have to live a cosmological revolution, also a cultural one, with a deeper natural contact.Thirty years ago, there were three main causes for climate change: technological development, population growth and epistemological errors. Nowadays we have same problems and a condition of “paralysis” of people. Static status quo is going to kill us very soon.After a pessimistic and an optimistic opinion about the issue about environment, GG students asked lots of questions to the guest about the way to face climate change and the main tips to save the planet.

    He replied that mentality and attitudes can always change, we have just to make sure that everyone comes to an agreement.

    We have to think about the kind of progress that we have in mind and how countries can achieve a new sustainable way of thinking.Realise the solution is easy, because you have to think in a double way and power or hegemony can be used for positive issues.

    The last interesting question was about the youth movement of teenagers and the activist Greta Thunberg who has created a “green” mobilization all over the world. In Eriksen’ s opinion, she represents a genuine voice and she is the outcome of exasperation and young awareness for the future generations.

    Civil disobedience sometimes is necessary to raise awareness.

    During the conversation with Mr Heriksen.
    the GG’s representatives were delivering a special prize to the guest.



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