Living with climate change

The challenge of adapting to a changing world

Bienvenido León coordinated Living with climate change, published on spring 2015.

Shortly before the publication of this monograph, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Fifth Assessment Report, according to which «warming of the climate system is unequivocal» and «the human influence on the climate system is clear». It is therefore time to take steps to mitigate this process and adapt our lives to a new scenario.

Living with climate change collects the analyses carried out by renowned experts, who approach from different perspectives a truly multi-faceted and complex issue. In addition to specialists, they are all people involved in the defence of the environment, whom we thank for their generous participation.

Our multidisciplinary approach is based on the conviction that climate science needs to be supported by other disciplines such as sociology, education, economics and communication. Only in this way will it be able to effectively translate its conclusions to society as a whole.

«The scientific community has not been very successful in trying to get citizens to deal with the severity of the situation»

So far, the scientific community has not been very successful in trying to get citizens to deal with the severity of the situation. As the reflections presented here show, this failure is related to the complexity of the problem, but also to the ineffectiveness of the educational and communication actions carried out so far. Only in this way can we understand that the education system has not yet managed to adequately train young people on climate change, that it remains a marginal issue in the media, or that denialist voices continue to have a significant influence on society.

Although changes in habits are often slow and costly, it is imperative to rapidly promote a profound cultural change that will allow us to adapt our lives to a radically different environment. We hope that these reflections will contribute to finding some clues to design the path that humans must take in order for Earth to remain a habitable planet.

Eight out of ten Spaniards think the hole in the ozone layer, caused by human actions, is the key physical cause of climate change. This belief, constructed from scientific elements (concepts, images, icons, discourse), is a product of popular culture. Science has never confirmed this relationship.

© Mètode 2017

Tenured Professor of Science Journalism and Television Production at the University of Navarra (Spain). He has published more than sixty scientific papers, and has authored or coordinated ten books in the field of science communication and the environment.