Friday, December 24, 2010

Why You Should Never Google “Climate Change”

The Psychology of Climate Change (Sustainability Forum, Sep.30, 2010)

The article under review today caught my eye with its use of a modified Venn diagram (note the red ball’s stability on and the curved line). These diagrams seem to allow for a better understanding of an issue than the simpler and more usual pros and cons approach. The article looks at the stereotypical individuals that make up each of the four quadrants of the diagram, depending on how much they value is put on individual freedom vs. conforming to society’s needs and the equality factor when it comes to climate change. The same analysis could be applied to urban pollution and its remedies.

Key Quotes:

“I have a golden rule: never, ever google ‘climate change’…you enter a weird parallel universe of paranoia, anger and derision aimed at much of the rest of the world.”

“the fatalist, we can ignore because they don’t care about the environmental debate, or indeed about the fact we ignore them. Life goes on is their attitude and it is very hard to get them excited about anything that doesn’t affect them directly”

“the egalitarian, is the viewpoint of the hardcore environmentalist. The environment is fragile and must be protected. ..Technofixes will not deliver what we need.. their attacks on solutions like biofuels, feed-in tariffs and carbon capture and storage are just as withering as those on Big Oil

“the individualist believes that the environment is robust and can always absorb the burdens placed on it by man –..Individualists are optimists – they have an abundance mentality and are often very successful in business as a result. Any attempt to put limits on their ‘freedom’ is highly suspect”

“the hierarchist...the environment is robust between limits, but exceed those limits and then collapse happens.. The fundamental belief is that everything can be measured, quantified and managed. This is the typical attitude of Government employees, climate scientists”

“individualists and egalitarians despise each other and both suspect that hierarchists favour their enemy”

“But in all these battles, the individualists eventually lost. This is for a very simple reason – they’re up against the laws of physics, and in a battle between ideology and the laws of physics, the laws of physics will always win.”

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