Mittwoch, 30. Mai 2018, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Climate Change and the End-Times

Anticipating Apocalyptic Responses to Climate Change

Hörsaal C, Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie, NIG, 4. Stock
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Wien


Research on the human dimensions of climate change is heavily invested in economic and socioeconomic modeling, but human-environment interactions are manifestly affected by more than economic rationali-ty. They are structured also by political, psychological, cosmological, and other domains of thought and be-havior. These domains do not yield easily to the quan-tification and computerized modeling required to in-tegrate behavioural inputs and outputs into natural-science models of the climate, but there is a growing recognition that mitigation and adaptation modeling must take some account of “institutions and govern-ance” and “broader societal factors” such as “worldview” (O’Neill et al. 2014:395-396). 

Worldviews and the behaviors they regulate are argu-ably the most intractable of human phenomena to model, but even in this domain progress may be pos-sible. Although it has gone largely unremarked, peo-ple in many parts of the world are likely to interpret climate change in apocalyptic terms, as evidence that the End Times are at hand. This development is likely to pose major barriers to climate-change mitigation and adaptation policy. Drawing from field research on New Guinea millenarian movements and anthropo-logical and historical knowledge of apocalyptic cults, this presentation models how vulnerable major world religions and selected nations may be to interpreting and responding to climate change in apocalyptic terms.

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Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie


Alberto Buela
Universität Wien
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie