Social Environment

James Sherry

At the beginning of the Humanist era, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote about a society where everyone was defined by their jobs: the knight, the squire, the priest, the housewife, the nun, and each had a separate story. In the environmental age people will start to identify themselves with how they view nature and all the stories have a common thread. Nature can be a cornucopia driven by our skills. Or we can passively receive its bounty, living from the fruits of other’s labor. We may think we cannot effect the world and hide away improving ourselves. All these different social beings contribute to arresting climate change, each in their own way. And we are not one thing as in humanism. Our view of nature changes as we do different things, washing dishes, skiing, working in the office…

Our common thread: humanity and nature as a single complex entity. As long as we continue to think of humanity as separate from nature, our solutions will be partial and their effects minimal. Social change drives climate change. We are both separate individual organisms and united by society and ecosystem. Michael Thompson is the inspiration for this thought.