Europe’s energy transition is driven by political agendas that work out in different ways on a regional level.This drive has proved to have a great impact on our relationship with our living environment and its heritage values. How can heritage discourse and studies shed light to these challenges? And what role can heritage and landscape values play in global challenges?
Tinos: View of the Cardiani settlement in Tinos island. Locals and heritage experts warn against the planned installation of wind power infrastructure in this small-scale, layered landscape. Credit: Marilena Mela
Renewable energy is produced using renewable natural resources such as sunlight, wind, water resources (rivers, tides and waves), geothermal heat or biomass. Unlike fossil fuels, these sources are constantly being replenished and can, therefore, in theory never be depleted. In addition, its energy conversion process doesn’t produce carbon emissions which will help achieve European energy and climate objectives. Last but not least, generating clean energy will reduce Europe’s dependency on imported fossil fuels, helping to make energy more affordable. On the other hand, landscape and heritage values of these localities are influenced immensely by energy transition initiatives and in some cases local communities are struggling with the consequences.
In late 2017 / early 2018 two Special Issues of international journals (Global and Planetary Change and Humanities) were published which together constitute the Humanities for the Environment Report 2018 (HfE 2018). The HfE 2018 Report provides key examples of how “humanities research reveals and influences human capacity to perceive and cope with environmental change” and seeks to change perceptions of the Environmental Humanities (Holm & Brennan 2018, p. 1). Both Special Issues emanated from the European Observatory of the broader worldwide Humanities for the Environment initiative. In this context, the term humanities is defined very broadly to include the social sciences. The editors and authors focus very deliberately on the actual and potential role of the humanities and social sciences in relation to contemporary environmental challenges. The first Special Issue, edited by Poul Holm and Charles Travis, seeks to engage with the earth science readership of Global and Planetary Change. In what follows, I focus, quite selectively, on key insights from the Humanities Special Issue and in particular the introductory text (Holm & Brennan 2018) and the article of Billing et al (2017) on sectoral, policy and academic visions for the marine environment. Specifically, I focus on two insights concerning societal adaptation to change and the concept of ‘world-views’. Continue reading “Humanities for the Environment Report 2018: Some Reflections”