Martin Bunzl | thinking While Walking Interview for Nick Breeze climate podcast

In this episode, I speak to the philosopher, Martin Bunzl, about his new book, Thinking While Walking, Reflections on the Pacific Crest Trail. Martin is professor of philosphy emeritus at Rutgers University in the US.

As Martin traverses the 2650 mile trail from the Mexican-US border to the US-Canada border, questions emerge around our own relationship with what we call the natural world.

If humanity has curated the landscape for thousands of years, both for-profit and pleasure, what are the impasses and delusions that we are to face in solving the huge ecological and climate problems that currently block our road to the future?

These ideas have been discussed before in terms of man versus nature but Martin gives concrete examples of where our romantic view of nature has already shaped the world around us. 

Thinking While Walking is a fascinating book that considers many of the entrenched positions that many of us hold when we think or speak about action on climate change.


00:00 Intro by Nick Breeze

01:21 Role of philosophy in responding to climate challenges

05:00 Tension between stemming energy and stemming population among worlds poorest

07:00 Our relationship with nature. “We forget that human beings started changing nature at least ten thousand years before the Christian era.”

11:20 Manmade versus nature-based solutions.

13:50 We need to remove 8 billion tonnes of CO2 for every part per million of carbon dioxide that we want to remove from the atmosphere.

16:15 Does the precautionary principle as a term oversimplify the reality of the climate predicament or is it an apt term given there are so many vulnerable people?

20:30 Manmade interventions that create winners and losers.

25:40: Genetical engineering for greenhouse gas removal that could see 40% of our emissions removed by agriculture. Is the potential risk too unpalatable?

31:02 Are we saving the world or creating an idea of nature that fits our anthropocentric interest?

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