We’re all climate change idiots!
In a timely follow up to my post below, Beth Gardiner wrote an article in today’s New York Times in which she considers why in the face of so much scientific evidence, we are doing so little to address the crisis of climate change. Entitled ‘We’re all climate change idiots”, Gardiner takes a look at the emerging field of climate psychology. If you want to gain some insight into our heroically underwhelming lack of action, this article is well worth a read. Here are some excerpts:
The mental habits that help us navigate the local, practical demands of day-to-day life make it difficult to engage with the more abstract, global dangers posed by climate change…We have trouble imagining a future drastically different from the present. We block out complex problems that lack simple solutions. We dislike delayed benefits and so are reluctant to sacrifice today for future gains. And we find it harder to confront problems that creep up on us than emergencies that hit quickly. We also tend to pay attention to information that reinforces what we already believe and dismiss evidence that would require us to change our minds, a phenomenon known as confirmation bias.
“You almost couldn’t design a problem that is a worse fit with our underlying psychology,” says Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.