Monday 14th October
19.00 – 20.30 
Norwich Anglican Cathedral Nave NR1 4DH 

SPEAKER: Mike Hulme 
(Professor of Human Geography, Cambridge University) 

Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing the world today. The UN warns that we have less than a dozen years to ‘cut the carbon’ in order to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate. Even if the warnings are heeded, there will still be serious consequences for civilisation, especially for the poorer communities of the world. 

Professor Mike Hulme will explore the question of who controls the world’s climate. Is it an act of God, or of Nature, or is it caused by the way that people interact with their environment? Over the centuries, the vagaries of weather and climate have been explained by a wide range of cosmologies, religious beliefs, political ideologies and scientific paradigms. In early human history, and still today, it is a common belief that our weather is related to the way we behave. We are morally-accountable as human actors, exploiting the resources of our environment. Thus, in some way, we get the weather we deserve. This is why the various proposed solutions to the ‘climate crisis’ are charged with ethical implications. For example, is it the responsibility of rich countries or rich people to take the lead in avoiding the potential disaster of climate change? Is it the task of national governments or ordinary citizens, technological engineers or social entrepreneurs, religious leaders or cultural celebrities? Probably, each of these groups has a distinctive role to play.

Some people might question whether humans have the moral right to “play God” by introducing complex technologies to control the world’s climate. As an ethical dilemma, this is similar to the introduction of new biomedical technologies to control the functioning of the human body. Somehow, we have to find a balance between the risks and the benefits.

Mike Hulme is professor of human geography at the University of Cambridge. From 2000 to 2007, he was Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at UEA and he has served as a member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is interested in how religious thought and cultural traditions can be reconciled with the implications of climate change. His books include Weathered: Cultures of Climate (SAGE, 2017) and Why We Disagree About Climate Change (Cambridge, 2009).


This talk will be suitable for a non-specialist audience.

All are welcome               No booking is required

There will be a bookstall and a voluntary retiring collection.

The annual Science-Faith Cathedral Lecture is organised by Science and Faith in Norfolk, a Norwich-based group affiliated to Christians in Science.  Visit the SFN Facebook page and Youtube channel.

Contact: SFN Secretary, Professor Nick Brewin (07901 884114);


Ray Mathias,
Mar 13, 2019, 9:40 AM