1st Edition

The Global Environmental Crisis The Limitations of Scientific Knowledge and the Necessity of Utopian Imagination

By John Lie Copyright 2025
    152 Pages
    by Routledge

    152 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Global Environmental Crisis presents a new perspective on our inattention and inaction in the face of a major crisis, recognising that – although we cannot do without scientific knowledge – we cannot exclusively rely on it.

    In spite of the limitations of achieving and disseminating scientific knowledge, many people have an unfounded faith in its certitude and indubitability. In particular, the scientific social sciences have exaggerated our capacity for attention and action, misrecognizing our propensity towards habits of thought and action. What we need, in addition to scientific knowledge, is a utopian imagination to make us understand the nature of the crisis and an alternative vision of a viable future.

    This book is an essential resource for students and instructors across the social sciences, especially sociology and environmental studies. It will also be a crucial and accessible text for general readers interested in climate change, the state of discussion, and how to imagine a better world for themselves and future generations.


    1. Belated Knowledge
    2. Fate and Hubris
    3. Utopian Imagination

    Appendix: Modes of Denial and Procrastination


    John Lie is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Lie's main scholarly interest is social theory. He is the author of Modern Peoplehood (2004). His longstanding interest in the environment has led him to write a book on sustainability – Japan, the Sustainable Society (2021) – and our inattention to and inaction on the global environmental crisis.