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Climate Redux and Earth System Governmentality

Climate change is at the top of current discussions around the globe. Allenby’s “Climate Redux: Welcome to the Anthropocene” and Lovbrand et al.’s “Earth System governmentality” offer timely insights into this discussion, albeit in different ways. On the one hand, Lovbrand et al. (2009) discuss how the integrative Earth System approach impacts our understanding of climate change and efforts dedicated to it. On the other hand, Allenby attempts to persuade that current approaches to deal with climate change are superficial and ineffective. Whereas the two articles contrast in their approach and delivery of the topic, they fundamentally discuss current challenges in addressing climate change.

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Reading both articles, it is evident that the authors agree that current approaches and solutions to climate change are amiss. Lovbrand et al. (2009) argue that despite efforts to integrate natural systems and humanity in addressing climate, the efforts are ambiguous, unsustainable, and ungovernable. In other words, the authors argue that just like how the governments run various operations, climate change approaches should be transformed into actions run and managed by various authorities. A similar approach is advanced in Allenby’s argument regarding current superficial approaches to climate change. While most talk exclusively targets climate change as the problem, he believes that it is just a symptom of Anthropocene- the impact of human actions on the state of the earth; and that is where the discussion should focus, at least according to him.

However, Lovbrand et al. (2009) offer a more open-ended discussion, while Allenby (2015) advances a closed and persuasive argument that is inclined towards a singular line of thought. Accordingly, Lovbrand et al. (2009) not only offer the reader a chance to question Earth Science as it is. They further “initiate a discussion” and invite the reader to evaluate whether it would work better for climate change if aspects of governmentality were added to Earth Science (p.7). In contrast, Allenby (2015) outrightly dismisses the notion that climate change should be a discussion as it currently is. He believes that current discussions are rather used to “evade knowledge and responsibility” and advocates for discussing the root cause of the problem (p.37). Therefore, the latter aims to persuade, while the former aims to inform the audience.

Overall, the notion in both sets of articles is that the role of humans has been more negative than additive to addressing climate change. Anthropocene, for instance, features in both articles in reference to the negative effect of human activities on climate change. The general feeling is that humans have done more harm to cause climate change than they have to address it. They both seem to agree that more needs to be done by humans in addressing climate change. So how do both sets of authors think humans should approach climate change? Allenby (2015) believes that approaches toward climate change should not be viewed as solutions but rather innovations that can be used to manage an irreversibly evolving relationship between human activity and nature. On the other hand, Lovbrand et al. (2009) believe that climate change action and sustainability should be given tangible and governable actions.


Allenby, B. (2015). Climate redux: Welcome to the Anthropocene. In, Issues in Science and Technology (pp.37-39).

Lovbrand, E., Stripple, J., & Wiman, B. (2009). Earth System governmentality. Global Environmental Change, 19,7-13.

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