|• By individuals, who may change their ideas about society, environment and change|
|• By society, as it adapts in planned and unplanned ways|
|• By the environment, in the sense that it too adapts in response to human activity.|
Note that it is also possible for adaptations to occur in ways which entail no human learning, at least in the sense we developed that term in Chapter 4.
This is to say that the way we think about society, environment and change influences (and is in turn influenced by) environmental and social change as they occur. However, influence is one thing: linear causality is another. Since our knowledge is frequently imperfect (see Chapter 4), and is mediated through literacies, institutions and cultures (see Chapter 6), we should expect that there will be many instances in which what is really happening, and what we think is really happening, are quite different. Such instances are likely to be characterised by the existence of 'contradictory certainties' (Thompson, 1990). This is to suggest that, where we find competing social groups marshalling impressive but incompatible bodies of evidence to support entrenched views, the most rational response is not to try to adjudicate between claims, but rather to assume that all parties are likely to be both (a bit) right and (a bit) wrong.