C.P. Snow’s identified philosophical divide between scientists and what he terms “literary humanists” has been the basis for many methods of education. The attempts to bridge the gap have included new ways of teaching, a “third culture,” and even Snow himself. However, I propose that recently a new potential bridge between the cultures has emerged: a common problem. Because the effects of climate change apply to everyone inhabiting the Earth, the two cultures have been and continue to be forced to collaborate in order to make any progress towards universal use of sustainable technology and practices.

The recent release of the IPCC special report on “Global Warming of 1.5℃” spurred many people on social media to action. The report was penned by a multitude of people, both men and women, from a wide range of nationalities. These people have backgrounds in a variety of fields, including science, philosophy, languages, economics, math, and communication. The extensive report also outlines ways to increase sustainability, suggests the use of technology that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and encourages contribution from everyone. What exactly are these methods or technologies then? Do they reflect the various backgrounds of the people who would be categorized as one of the two cultures? To find out, I will examine the backgrounds of the people involved with various projects designed to limit the effects of climate change, as well as the nature of the projects themselves.

Technology is most often how scientists and engineers produce solutions. Tesla’s focus on electric vehicles and solar energy creates a market option for people with cars to opt into sustainable energy and move away from using gas and oil for transportation. Sidewalk Labs’ teams of urbanists and technologists design urban centers where sustainability can thrive. Their use of data and analysis is expected to decrease traffic hotspots, carbon emission, and landfill waste. As for carbon removal, there are multiple potential methods, including planting more trees to absorb some atmospheric carbon in a natural sense. Machines such as artificial trees have been produced and tested as well.  

Those who Snow refers to as literary humanists or social scientists often combat the climate problem through education of the masses or through public policy measures. An early example of such education is Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, a call for attention to the natural world and the negative anthropogenic effects on it. Since then, advancements have been made in education at both the high school and college level, especially in America. Now, environmental science is an option in high school, and programs in college have expanded to incorporate environmental impacts no matter what discipline. On a global scale, education of females in developing countries decreases fertility, which decreases overall population. This makes achieving sustainability easier. Part of the IPCC report speaks to policy makers in particular, presenting them with facts that are crucial to understand in order to properly protect citizens. Government oversight on business practices with regards to the environment can be written and enacted by people with humanities backgrounds.

No matter what category one falls under, there is an opportunity to limit the harmful effects of climate change. There are also many projects that require people from both disciplines in order to fully anticipate the costs and effects on both life and the atmosphere.  

 

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