From Harlad Welzer's perspective, global warming is more of a cultural issue than a scientific one because it threatens relationships between human beings. Rising temperatures cause arable lands and inhabitable zones to shrink, deserts to expand and water reserves to dwindle. The poorest nations suffer the most, especially when they have weak institutions and limited capacities for countering catastrophe. In the struggle for survival, the citizens of these nations may turn to violence because the state is unable to protect their rights. Welzer says that there will be more refugees as a consequence, and this collapse of political and economic relations will eventually affect other nations.
Harald Welzer is the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen, and Research Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Witten/Herdecke. His research focuses on memory, the transfer of knowledge and violence; all unusual subjects for a social psychologist, says the 48-year-old academic. As a result, Welzer's findings have found more resonance in discplines outside of social psychology.
Recorded Monday, March 02, 2009 at Goethe-Institut Chicago.