Yesterday, Dec 11, I attended various side-events to COP15, and I am left with some puzzle pieces of thoughts.
(3) The third side event in which I participated was the presentation of the prestigious Met Office Hadley Centre. The combination of presentations was brilliant, but we were given a very grim – nearly apocalyptic – image of the future, up to the point that one can wonder how these scientists “feel” about these issues, once they are facing their children and grandchildren and have to leave behind the cold rationality they rightly use in analyzing the facts … It is frightening and questions arise as to what kind of adaptation will be realistic and how hope can be generated in the face of such realities and out of such realities. Tackling global climate change, therefore, is not only a scientific, economic and political issue; a much broader and holistic strategy is necessary, in which the so-called human sciences and religions will play an important role. While wondering about strengthening people’s capacity to cope with these challenges, I was reminded of Aaron Antonovsky’s “sense of coherence” (SOC), but also of my own religion’s capacity to generate hope in desperate situations and to deal with situations of immense pain and suffering (e.g. the pest, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Nazi-Germany). There certainly is work to be done here, and urgently. Again, it is a pity that religions and their theologians, or that human sciences such as social psychology, are but tangentially present at COP15.