National Geographic Calling on Humanities Thinkers to Change the Energy Discussion
“This is not an engineering discussion. It is a humanities one,” Bruce Oreck, U.S. Ambassador to Finland, told an auditorium full of engineers this week at the World Renewable Energy Forum in Denver.
Paraphrasing great thinkers such as Aristotle, Einstein, and Newton, Oreck said, “Words don’t just describe what we think. They shape what we think. Language is so important that it exerts a hidden power, like the moon’s effect on the tide.”
Oreck, who currently is leading an effort to improve building efficiency at U.S. embassies in Europe, was not talking about unlocking the secrets of universe. He was sounding the alarm for climate change and how to frame the debate. His weapon of choice: language.
Given the importance of language in influencing public opinion, Oreck argued that we need better ways of communicating the benefits of renewable energy, and that the current terminology leaves a lot to be desired. Read more.
See also: WREF Tuesday Plenary – Solutions for Sore Eyes, World Renewable Energy Forum (5/22/2012)