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Ideas revolution challenges old patterns of thought: Greenpeace worker

Posted by gmarkets on 3 September, 2007

Let’s take a breather from these manic times and think the thoughts that count, not prefabricated opinions, wrote Dan Can of Greenpeace in The Sydney Morning Herald (1/9/2007, p. 37). Meaning of “paradigm”: “Let’s find a nice hole in the wall and talk funky green truths over a glass of organic chardonnay. It was the Harvard University physicist Thomas Kuhn who coined the word ‘paradigm’ in his influential 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” wrote Can. “Kuhn was trying to explain those huge shifts in science, like from the Catholic Church position that the sun goes around the Earth to the opposite, Copernican idea that the Earth orbits the sun.”

Our own paradigm examined: “We need to have plans to reach a target that makes a difference, like a 30 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020,” wrote Can. “Most of the policies being aired are about mechanisms to achieve the target – like the clean coal mirage, or emissions trading. These are means to an end and nothing more. We need a promise to end Australia’s addiction to coal, but all we get is a schedule for attending meetings of Fossil Fuels Anonymous. Kuhn showed us that a revolution of ideas changes everything so profoundly that the new way of thinking is ‘incommensurable’ with the old paradigm.”

Dan Can works for Greenpeace, but these views are his own. This article evolved from a column in The Manic Times,

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1/9/2007, p. 37


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