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

TitleMessing with nature? Exploring public perceptions of geoengineering in the UK
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsCorner, A, Parkhill, K, Pidgeon, N, Vaughan, N
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
VolumeIn Press
Keywordsclimate change, Geoengineering, Nature, Public engagement

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. © 2013 The Authors.