Tag Archives: science

Science and Modernity : Ravi Sinha

Guest post by RAVI SINHA

Science and modernity are widely considered among the most celebrated features of contemporary human civilization. Increasingly they are taken as the defining elements that distinguish our times from the times gone by. At such a sweeping level, there can be many other ways to characterize the contemporary. One can, for example, refer to capitalism, market, globalization, democracy or nation-states. One can also include various critiques of capitalism and the widespread resistance to its hegemonic and imperialistic avatars among the characteristic features of our times. Such characterizations, however, belong to a layer of historical reality that is more systemic than civilizational. Science and modernity, especially when taken as a correlated pair, characterize our times at a deeper level. They have, so to speak, seeped into the subterranean layers of contemporary historical reality.

On the face of it, such an assertion would appear to be far removed from the actual state of affairs in the real world. It would be rare, for example, to find a person whose beliefs and practices are fully consistent with established precepts of science. Such a search would be a fruitless endeavour, more or less, in any society on the planet. A similar anomaly is apparent in the case of modernity too. One can safely say that an overwhelming majority of humans in the contemporary world does not live by the canons or conventions of modernity. While few may be completely untouched by the laws and institutions of a modern polity or by the processes and pressures of a modern economy, most live by traditions and practices that do not sit well with basic attributes of modernity. Continue reading Science and Modernity : Ravi Sinha

Looking forward looking back

While the Bali conference is finally over, work on its roadmap is only just begun. Below, am pasting a summary of Bali prepared by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin. The full report can be found on their website: http://www.iisd.ca

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF COP 13 & COP/MOP 3

BALI: ISLAND OF THE GODS AND BREAKTHROUGHS?

You should not be impelled to act for selfish reasons, nor should you be attached to inaction. (Bhagavad Gita. 2.47)

Marking the culmination of a year of unprecedented high-level political, media and public attention to climate change science and policy, the Bali Climate Change Conference produced a two-year “roadmap” that provides a vision, an outline destination, and negotiating tracks for all countries to respond to the climate challenge with the urgency that is now fixed in the public mind in the wake of the headline findings of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. The outline destination is an effective political response that matches both the IPCC science and the ultimate objective of the Convention; it was never intended that the Bali Conference would focus on precise targets. Instead, the divergent parties and groups who drive the climate regime process launched a negotiating framework with “building blocks” that may help to square a number of circles, notably the need to reconcile local and immediate self-interest with the need to pursue action collectively in the common and long-term interests of people and planet. The informal dialogue over the past two years has now been transformed into a platform for the engagement of parties from the entire development spectrum, including the United States and developing countries.

Continue reading Looking forward looking back