Humans are changing beings; adaptive and responsive. History constantly shows us that our psychology, society and culture are not static. This indicates to designers that we need to be able to adapt and design experiences that can adapt to the way humanity changes.
I’d like to explore how understanding the concept of Climate Change can be applied to understanding how Humans Change.
There is an important distinction to be made between Climate, Seasons and Weather. These are certainly three closely interrelated phenomena, hierarchically encompassed, while also existing unique in their own domain.
I would like to define Climate as the archetypical pattern of weather and seasons encompassing a particular region over an indefinite period of time. This pattern is mediated by Seasons, which are cyclical phases of weather which repeat themselves over a definite period of time in regular frequency. Weather is the behaviour of a variable combination and collection of conditions that exist at a specific time.
When the weather patterns within the seasons start to shift, we can define this as climate change. The fundamental properties/archetype that defines the climate starts to shift, and the climate no longer resembles what it used to.
A Connection - Behaviour
Thus, climate can be seen as the behavioural nature of the weather within a particular region, based on consistent and expected weather behaviour over cyclical seasons. And climate change can be seen as the change in this behavioural nature of weather within a particular region. That is, over time, the behaviour (expression) of weather begins to deviate from an expected pattern in the seasons.
What is interesting is that Human Change can be seen in much the same light!
Just like the weather, human individuals exhibit a specific behaviour (which is the combination and collection of a large number of human factors) at each moment in time. The behaviour takes the form of expression and like seasons, human behaviour does go through cyclical phases which repeat themselves over a definite period of time usually at regular frequency (ie. sleeping at night, waking during the day, shorts in the summer, coats in the winter, etc.). These can be classified as traditions. It would then be only natural to conclude that there is an overlying “behavioural climate” that defines particular groups of humans as well as individuals. Perhaps in society this is the culture, or perhaps it can be defined as personality in individuals.
Conclusion - Climates do change. Let’s adapt.
Just like humans must adapt to the changes in climate that are occurring and will continue to occur throughout our existence, us designers must adapt to the changing human “climate” of culture and personality.
Today is Blog Action Day. This post was done as a contribution to the collaborative effort to raise awareness on the issue of Climate Change. It’s a humble attempt, though my intent was actually to direct attention to Human Change as well!