Many scientists and members of the public are experiencing a sense of hopelessness and paralysis in light of the potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change. Anthropologically research is needed to discover the green shoots of innovative local action that provide reason for renewed hope.
The threats of climate change are many and their manifestations are compounding and accelerating in unexpected ways. The net effect is a social disequilibrium between dangerous denial on one pole of response and paralyzing fear and hopelessness on another. This panel explores new sources of hope. An common plan is certainly needed that will make our diverse values, social institutions and behavior match the demand for reforms, required to reduce our environmental impact. International agreements, such as the Paris Accord, are thus hopeful steps. For real change to occur, however, action is indispensable, and action is always local in the end. Anthropology is an ideal forum for disseminating vital news of innovative, successful local actions. We thus invite case studies in one or more of the following categories: 1/ Technical and Economic Innovations providing alternate sources of energy, materials, water or food that are conserving, distributed, efficient and carbon neutral, or providing quicker pathways to the acceptance of existing technology. 2/ Social Innovations emerging from activism, social movements, faith communities or revitalized tradition that help minimize resource use, provide alternative models of social value and reward, improve well-being, or restore diversity. 3/ Innovative new economic theory (anthronomics) that computes the costs (including externalities) of goods and services in terms of new value systems based on sustainability. 4/ Innovative cultural value systems that promote decreased consumption or increased sharing and cooperation as ways to lower our impact on the ecosystem. We seek new 'eco-cosmologies' with a tangible and positive local impact.