Expanding the Dialogue- Climate geoengineering conversation in other languages


Thursday, May. 22, 2014

Climate geoengineering is by definition a global prospect. Yet, it seems the conversation surrounding it is taking place primarily in English, a language most of the world does not speak.  If pursued, the impacts of such large scale technological interventions will undoubtedly stretch beyond the English-speaking world, and so the conversation must broaden correspondingly.  It cannot hope to justly move forward otherwise. 

To this end, The Washington Geoengineering Consortium will be rolling out a series of new pages, which you’ll find in the homepage menu under “other languages” (because we couldn’t think of anything better to call it).

Each page is a translation of a document that explains the basics of climate geoengineering, the current state of the conversation surrounding it, and the critical need to transform this conversation from a confined dialogue among English-speaking experts to one that is inclusive, global, and broad-based. It concludes by asking you about the state of the conversation in your language: “Are there academic papers or articles in the popular press discussing climate geoengineering?”     

Native speakers, both our colleagues and other professionals, are producing these translations. We are beginning with those languages spoken by the most people globally, by population, and hope to work our way down the list. If you find that something is off in one of the translations, let us know!  

We’d like to ask a few things of you: 

1. Do a translation! If you’re a native speaker in any language we haven’t yet included and would like to contribute a translation, let us know.  We will provide you with an English language document to work from (if you choose). 

2. Contribute articles, papers, books, short videos and whatever else you might find in any of the languages we’ve already translated the document into. Each translated page has a contact form you can use to send us whatever you think is relevant to the conversation. 

3. Spread the word! This is an experiment, to be sure.  We don’t know how valuable this will be, but if it has a chance of actually gathering useful information, we’ll need your help. 

It is important to point out that WGC knows that making this conversation a just and inclusive one means a lot more than making a little information about climate geoengineering available online. Many of those whose lives will be most intimately impacted by the effects of climate change, and who consequently have the most to gain or lose from the outcomes of the conversation, do not have access to computers, the internet, or even electricity.  Additionally, many may be uncomfortable communicating in this medium, may be culturally averse to doing so, or simply may not have time. Finally, many of these people exist in non-literate communities. As such, it will be vital in the coming years to ensure that everyone has a place at the table, not just “given” space but empowered as agents to participate in the conversation that is rightfully theirs.

We look forward to hearing from you!