BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2015 - (Page 42)
By roBert J. Leaver
his book radically reframes the approach
for people to take to address global
warming. To make this book work for
you, you have to suspend your historical
assumptions and work with the material.
Let it churn your heart and soul rather than using
your mind. when you engage with the book in this
way, it will change how you think, act and are in the
The key is in the book's subtitle: "Toward a new
psychology of climate Action." The book is based on
psychology and the spirit first and science second.
Let's make the change we want personal - solo
and with others - and not global. it is a bottom-up
per Espen stoknes, a psychologist and economist
from norway, aims to change the conversation and
practice of what we do to reduce carbon emissions. he
is a colleague, and like me, a student of James hillman
- one of the creators of archetypal psychology.
My love of cities and place comes from hillman.
hillman built on the work of carl Jung and Alfred Adler,
but challenged and went beyond both of them. This
kind of psychology and stoknes's book are rooted
in universal, ancient patterns of understanding and
behavior with a heavy dose of aesthetics such as
"breathing in the soul of the world." hillman described
this approach in 1975 in his book, "re-visioning
The book unfolds in three sections that focus on
thinking, doing and being.
Thinking is the frame of mind we use to
address global warming and the facts we muster to
demonstrate the case for taking action. doing includes
42 * BUiLDinGenerGy Vol. 33 no. 2 | fall 2015
the actions we take. Being is about how we are each
asked to be more emotionally present in the world.
The first and second sections offer the usual
remedies for responding to the Earth heating up.
That said, what stoknes presents in these two
sections goes against climate-change gospel.
The third section on "being" makes this book
come alive and breaks new ground. here, stoknes
challenges the historical approach of all the "rock
stars" who are leading the way on climate change
with rationality and piles of data. we are done with
This book tells a new story - a story rooted in
mythology and age-old archetypes - a core tenet of
archetypal psychology. it asks us to think and practice
differently and learn what to do through trying. Begin
with feeling your emotional connection to the earth.
Then, find fresh ways of doing based on your being.
And last, bring out the facts as needed.
A word of caution: many of my nEsEA colleagues
will bristle at stoknes' references to LEEd as the
standard for energy efficiency and the use of
electronic cars to reduce the use of carbon. while
stoknes may lack the context to know that other
standards, such as passive house, Living Building
challenge, or net-zero energy, move us closer to
our energy goals than LEEd does, these are small
concerns in the bigger picture of what stoknes invites
and challenges us - as seasoned practitioners - to
think, do and become.
thE climatE Paradox
This book does not refute that the climate is
changing - and not for the better. rather, it invites us
to let go of many decades of using four approaches:
rationality, data, doomsday prophesies, and global
The more the science and data are presented
to those who are not aligned with them, the more
people go numb. Keep pounding with the logic and
data and even more resistance rises up.
in archetypal psychology, rationality and data are
Apollo-driven, using this approach: "i am in charge,
so follow my command and control over you." Follow
me. And right now there are two different Apollos -
those aligned with and those positioned against the
conditions of a changing climate.
it is like dueling banjos with no resolution - each
banjo keeps notching it up. And now we are numb.
so stoknes suggests we stop playing both banjos by
putting the facts in our back pockets and using them
"just in time," when they come up in conversation
with others. Lead with your doing and being.
doing: if it doESn't work,
do SomEthing ElSE
John dewey loved to say all learning springs from
doing. Then after doing, create the space to reflect
on what you did. And sometimes the reflection leads,
if necessary, to a change in the next doing. This is
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2015
Letter From NESEA’s Executive Director
Letter From the Chair of NESEA’s Board
Passing on Our Building-Science Smarts
A BuildingEnergy Magazine Case Study: Roosevelt Landings
The Stellar Performance of the Concord Solar Challenge
High Performance Comes in Out of the Cold
BuildingEnergy 16 Promises Knowledge, Inspiration and Community
New York Competes With Boston in Energy Efficiency
2015 Sustainable Green Pages
Index to Advertisers / Ad.com
BUILDING ENERGY - Fall 2015