How to defeat climate change

May 23, 2017 | written by:

We know human beings are mainly responsible for climate change and we also know that there will be (and indeed there are) significant social, economic and environmental costs related to this phenomenon such as more extreme weather, rising sea levels, ocean acidification and so on...

So why haven't humans done nothing to solve the problem? The answer to this question comes directly from a study by Professor Elise Amel in collaboration with Christie Manning, Britain Scott and Susan Koger. The article recently published on The Guardian by John Abraham talking about this and tells how efforts to educate people on the subject, fear for the future and guilt were not enough to change the situation. Why?

The article shows that there are two forces that affect human behavior: internal forces (emotions, beliefs, attitudes, etc.) and external forces (social networks, societal roles, cultural worldviews, habits, infrastructures, investments that are often underestimated). According to scientists, humans are reticent to change their behavior even under significant circumstances because they are not well equipped to coordinate behavior for common benefit and they used to act for personal ones and environmental dangers do not tend to arouse the kind of urgency that motivates individuals to act since this is a long-term problem that has no apparent immediate and personal threats.

Simply put, why taking actions now to avoid future problems that will not affect us? According to Abraham, discussions on climate change need to be framed locally; it's great that we want to save polar bears, but what really will motivate people to act are the risks to them right now. From the study, it also emerges that humans tend not to protect things they either don't know or don't value so creating a strong relationship with nature may be crucial. Individuals whose actions are informed by a deeper understanding play a critical role in inspiring collective actions within various spheres of influence. Psychological research suggests that humans can move towards a sustainable society by creating conditions that motivate environmentally responsible collective action. We need both individual and collective change to save the Planet and develop a fruitful relationship with the environment that welcomes us and nourishes us.

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