CR 08:163-169 (1997)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr008163

Trust and climate

Nico Stehr*

Green College, The University of British Columbia, 6201 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z1

This paper examines common sense representations of the environment with specific reference to climate. Such systems of representation are emergent phenomena, mediated by specific social contexts and evolving in response to different societal events and natural constraints. It is asked what characteristic features are assigned to climate in past and modern society. The conjecture is that our understanding of climate is strongly influenced by experiences with extreme climatic events. Extremes are occasions that reinforce trust and confidence in the normality of climate. Thus, the ways in which extremes are dealt with and explained by society provides an important clue for the semantics of environmental representation generally.


Social construct of climate · Climate extremes · Everyday conception of climate


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