About the 'Climate Crisis Thinking in a time of Covid-19' blog

Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social Sciences


The ‘Climate Crisis Thinking’ network aims to bring the expertise, knowledge, imagination and values of humanities and social sciences into responses to climate change. It also uses the climate crisis as a provocation to radical new thinking within these disciplines. Both elements enable more effective engagement with the urgent issues of our times, and the capacity to educate in ways that will better equip students in all disciplines to face the challenges of the future.


Since our launch last year, we have found that these aims resonate widely in our various disciplines and beyond. Global warming has been treated all along as a ‘scientific’ problem, to be studied and solved in the sciences. And so it is being – but unfortunately, there and nowhere else. Scientific findings have not achieved sufficient traction in the ‘real worlds’ of relentless economic growth and ecological destruction fuelled by political failure and public indifference.


Climate crisis is the product of human activity, human values and culture, human histories, and intricate human systems of power and inequality. It will be experienced by humans within their lives and localities, through the lives of the people, animals, plants and places that they love, and conscious or unconscious entanglements of all planetary life. It was never going to be possible to understand and tackle it without the expertise of the humanities, arts and social sciences.


This has been brought dramatically into focus by the coronavirus pandemic. While the sciences have been essential to formulating and delivering responses and to shaping public understanding, it has been clear from the outset that this, too, is an issue of humans. It is about our lives and wellbeing; our connections: familial, local, global, and interspecies; the histories that have created our present; our ways of thinking and acting; our political systems; the grotesque injustices and inequalities that we have normalised and accepted; our relationships to the complex ecosystems we inhabit.


It is crucial that during this period of intense focus on Covid-19, that pandemic, reconstructing the world in the aftermath of pandemic shutdown, or the intensifying climate crisis within everything sits, are not framed away from the expertise of humanities and social sciences disciplines.



If you would like to contribute to this blog, please contact Amanda Power [amanda.power@stcatz.ox.ac.uk].

Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social Sciences