Environmental Humanities Research
Welcome to the Centre for Environmental Humanities' Research Hub
We aim to create an environmental humanities centre of global consequence by pursuing major research questions in a collaborative environment
What can we offer you?
The Centre Environmental Humanities at Trinity College Dublin aims to raise pro-environmental levels of consciousness, perception and action through multi-disciplinary research and education. We collaborate through a cross-disciplinary lens and draw upon the insights of history, literature, philosophy, drama, film, media and culture studies, anthropology, sociology, psychology, geography, and other related disciplines. This website is intended as a research platform on which we can present ideas as well as research outputs from projects at the Centre. Global climate change is an existential issue for the human condition, and finding solutions to its social and environmental dilemmas is vexing. The United Nations Development Program textbook on Foresight Methodologies maintains "most authors discussing scenario analysis recommend the use of multiple scenarios. The future is uncertain, and analysis of just one scenario does little to communicate much about the range of opportunities and challenges liable to confront us."
While science offers empirical "certainties" and methodologies to measure and identify global climate change's causes and effects, the Environmental Humanities offers multiple disciplinary scenarios from which to consider solutions and decisions about the social uncertainties and contingencies related to climate change. By recognizing the wisdom of the Irish proverb "ní neart go cur le chéile," environmental humanists, social scientists and scientists working together can "contribute many hands" to address the hard questions and choices facing the human condition and its intractable role in global climate change.
We believe that the humanities are an indispensable resource for how we live with environmental change. Humanities knowledge is increasingly important for a globalizing world where religion, media, narrative, myth and culture play an ever larger role in economies and world affairs. But for the sustainability agenda the humanities are a huge and so far largely untapped resource. The future of the planet is determined by our actions, our behaviour as consumers and as citizens. The individual choices we make sum up to a behavioural aggregate, which is bad for the planet and bad for ourselves. Global changes are known - we can measure and discuss the significance of differences of degrees of warming, weather patterns and water rise, but the big challenges are known. What we do not know is how we may change direction.
We have successfully adapted as a species to environmental change in the past, when forces of nature were beyond our control. We have also successfully survived the threat of nuclear warfare when we invented the means of our own destruction. However, will we be able to address the challenges of repetitive behaviour when all our incentive structures go against such change? Here is a vast agenda for the humanities as we are concerned with human motivation, ideas, thought processes and human action.