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March 27, 2014 presentation sponsored by the Science and Technology Studies Program, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, and the School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia.
In this presentation, I review three distinct groups of prominent public intellectuals arguing for action on climate change. I discuss how these individuals establish and maintain their authority, how their ideas and arguments spread and diffuse by way of the media, and how they shape the assumptions of global networks of activists, philanthropists, journalists, and academics. Then, for each group, drawing on their main works, I describe how they define the social implications of climate change and the barriers to addressing the problem, their vision of a future society and their favored policy actions, their outlook on nature and technology, and their views on politics and social change. In the conclusion, I discuss the need for investment in media and public forums that strengthen our civic capacity to learn, debate, and collaborate in ways that take advantage of different discourses, ideas and voices.