The New York Times published an article titled “We’re All Climate Change Idiots” by Beth Gardiner on July 21, 2012. Exerts from this article are posted below. Read the full article here.
“CLIMATE CHANGE is staring us in the face. The science is clear, and the need to reduce planet-warming emissions has grown urgent. So why, collectively, are we doing so little about it?
Yes, there are political and economic barriers, as well as some strong ideological opposition, to going green. But researchers in the burgeoning field of climate psychology have identified another obstacle, one rooted in the very ways our brains work. The mental habits that help us navigate the local, practical demands of day-to-day life, they say, make it difficult to engage with the more abstract, global dangers posed by climate change.
“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.
Research also suggests public health is an effective frame: few people care passionately about polar bears, but if you argue that closing coal-burning plants will reduce problems like asthma, you’re more likely to find a receptive audience, says the American University communications professor Matthew Nisbet.
Simply presenting climate science more clearly is unlikely to change attitudes. But a better understanding of our minds’ strange workings may help save us from ourselves.”Source: The New York Times July 21, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/opinion/sunday/were-all-climate-change-idiots.html?_r=1