Research Papers

The Mental Component of the Earth System

Publication Year: 2004

Author(s): W. Lucht. Rajendra K Pachauri


This chapter explores how the mental component of the Earth system functions and interacts with the physical and biological systems of the planet. A tetrarchical loop is used to illustrate the four elements of the mental component: 1)GeoScope (the interplay between observation and theory), 2)GeoGraphy (the reintroduction of generalized knowledge into social contexts), 3) GeoMind (aspects of identity), and 4) GeoAction (interplay between governance and representation). The ability to transfer understanding from local to global levels, e.g., through macroscopes, is a central challenge in managing the future of the Earth system. Management goals should be identified through a continuous process, based on the awareness that a multiplicity of global realities and situations exist, that there is partiality of knowledge, that observation is often influenced by theory, and that an empirical basis is needed for a science of sustainability.

Source: Earth System Analysis for Sustainability: 340-365p.

Publisher/Organisation: Cambridge: MIT Press