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Messing with nature? Exploring public perceptions of geoengineering in the UK

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Publication details

JournalGlobal Environmental Change
DateE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jul 2013
DatePublished (current) - Oct 2013
Issue number5
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)938-947
Early online date3/07/13
Original languageEnglish


Anthropogenic influence on the climate - and possible societal responses to it - offers a unique window through which to examine the way people think about and relate to the natural world. This paper reports data from four, one-day deliberative workshops conducted with members of the UK public during early 2012. The workshops focused on geoengineering - the deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment - as one of three possible responses to climate change (alongside mitigation and adaptation). Here, we explore one of the most pervasive and wide-ranging themes to emerge from the workshops: whether geoengineering represented an unprecedented human intervention into 'nature', and what the moral consequences of this might be. Using the concept of 'messing with nature' as an analytical lens, we explore public perceptions of geoengineering. We also reflect on why 'messing with nature' was such a focal point for debate and disagreement, and whether the prospect of geoengineering may reveal new dimensions to the way that people think about the natural world, and their relationship to it. 

Bibliographical note

©2013, The author. This is an Open Access article published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence (CC-BY).

    Research areas

  • Climate change, Geoengineering, Nature, Public engagement

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