Tag Archives: climate change denial

Facing up to the climate crisis: despair, acceptance, action

Anyone who is paying attention knows what’s going on. We have the evidence of an inexorable increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases. We are familiar with the many indications of changing climate and a warming planet. We see widespread denial, some active but most of it passive. And we have witnessed the repeated failure of nations to take any significant action, unilaterally or collectively. Given these circumstances, is there any cause for hope?

Clive Hamilton believes not:

clinging to hopefulness becomes a means of forestalling the truth. Sooner or later we must respond, and that means allowing ourselves to enter a phase of desolation and hopelessness, in short to grieve.

What we must grieve for is the future humanity has lost or, rather, methodically destroyed through our own handiwork. In his grimly titled Requiem for a species, Hamilton faces up to this grief. His concern is to get us to consider how we can best respond to the grief and despair brought on by climate change. He asks, how should we adjust to a future that will be so different from that which we have come to expect?

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Filed under climate change, David

The social organisation of denial: Understanding why we fail to act on climate change, and what we can do about that.

Kari Marie Norgaard has written a useful research paper for – perhaps surprisingly – the World Bank. (Cognitive and Behavioral Challenges in Responding to Climate Change)

She investigates how denial, operating as a social process, is hindering our ability to take effective action on climate change despite growing concern and awareness of the risks. It is not a complete analysis – I would recommend that readers keep in mind the insights about social change, consumerism,  and values highlighted in the WWF ‘Weathercocks & Signposts’ report discussed here, and analysis of the dynamics of consumer capitalism such as those discussed here and here.

Norgaard’s report is forty-something pages of body text and tables. The following is my attempt at an Executive Summary.

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Filed under Barry, climate change, sustainability