Considerando que as Alterações Climáticas (AC) - uma das cinco áreas-guia da Estratégia 2020 da Comissão Europeia - são um problema global que requer respostas locais articuladas aos níveis macro, meso e micro; e que a sua compreensão implica a identificação das relações reciprocamente influentes entre a Natureza, a Sociedade e a Cultura; qualquer intervenção - seja no sentido da mitigação das AC, seja no sentido da adaptação às AC - envolve necessariamente essa mesma sociedade, em toda a complexidade das suas dimensões socioculturais e ambientais. Neste artigo, enquadrado pelas teorias compreensivas, refletimos brevemente sobre algumas das inter-relações entre os sistemas climáticos, ambientais e socioculturais e defendemos que as racionalidades leigas, por se enraizarem em tipos e fontes de saber plurais, são um dos pilares para melhor se compreender e lidar com o fenómeno das AC.
Whereas Climate Change (CC) - one of the five prioritary areas of the Strategy 2020 of the European Commission - is a global challenge needing local responses, articulated at the macro, meso and micro levels; and while its understanding entails identifying mutually influential relationships between Nature, Society and Culture, any intervention - either to mitigate or adapt to CC - necessarily involves society itself, in the full complexity of its sociocultural and environmental dimensions. In a world in the midst of a major demographic transition, with a population expected to reach, issues like sustainability, resource use, scarcity and sharing, have been interwoven in the international, regional and local arenas. This paper develops in the light of comprehensive theories. The methodological procedures are based upon desk research and all the work relies on the reflexive notion and today´s ubiquitous complexity. The spirit of this pivotal approach is the interest in knowledge, curiosity for different dimensions of knowledge and how it is (re)produced, articulated and reflected in the relationships of the individual human being, with itself, with other human beings, with other living creatures and with the environment. This papers argues that the lay rationalities, because they take root in various types and sources of knowledge, are one of the pillars to better understand and deal with of CC. Part one of this paper makes a brief reference to ethical implications, preceded by a succinct analysis of the key dynamics and processes, which are considered responsible for the variability and climate change in a diachronic perspective. Part two discusses some of the sustainability issues, with a brief introduction to the pathways and strategies for mitigating and adapting to CC, which have been outlined and lie ahead, linking the global dimension to the local dimension, governments to markets and to civil society. Finally, focusing on lay rationalities, a brief approach is sought regarding the issues of reflexivity, social capital and the 'knowledge-power' concept, keeping in mind that the study of the social reality, which is complex in nature, is always a (de)constructed exercise of dialectics between generalization and specialization.