Who Will Cry for the Ice?
by Carter Brooks

An eBook adapted from Carter’s studies at the Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley.


Examination of the conceptual metaphors we use in every day speech can provide insight into how we think about and understand the world. Conceptual understanding of climate change is shaped not only by scientific research, but also by everyday metaphors for such mundane topics as “warming” or “change.” Starting with an examination of how our most basic conceptual metaphors influence how we see climate change, this research then examines how competing worldviews dictates how global warming is understood and addressed, and finally how emerging terms create assumptions that influence how global warming is understood. This paper suggests that our conceptual understanding is limited by our physical experience of the world, and that how we understand climate change is influenced by our life priorities and worldview, which is in turn shaped by our day to day activities. The conclusion ponders the question, “what is missing.” The answer implies that our conceptual understanding is likely flawed and incomplete, and suggests more complex understanding may be found using indirect methods such as art.