WHY DENIERS’ BRAINS REJECT CLIMATE CHANGE
Why our brains are wired to ignore climate change
Matthew Hutson, August 21, 2014 (Washington Post)
Don’t Even Think About It by George Marshall asks what causes climate change denial. One familiar answer is that humans respond most urgently to threats that are present, concrete and definite, but climate change is gradual, hard to observe and indefinite. Another is that addressing it requires making palpable sacrifices now in order to prevent unclear costs in the distant future. Some answers are newer:
(1) Surviving a weather disaster (a) gives people a sense of invulnerability and (b) people just want to get their lives back to normal and not worry about some even larger threat.
(2) After having kids, (a) the optimism bias kicks into high gear and (b) you’re too busy changing diapers.
(3) Environmental campaigns communicate individual responsibility, and thus blame, which leads to resentment.
(4) Everyone’s heard the facts; denial is due to a surplus of reinforcing culture, not a lack information.
The book is full of advice, including that, like religion, advocates should offer (1) opportunities for public commitment to the cause, (2) treat certain goals as sacred values, and (3) develop a language of forgiveness, so people can deal with their guilt rather than turn to denial. click here for more