Our brains are not wired to understand climate change. We have no memory of it as a society. It has never happened before in our advanced civilization. We do not know how to behave.
Animals, including humans, have an innate fear of the unknown. It manifests itself in doubt, paranoia, fear, anxiety, apathy, avoidance, and neglect. But once we understand; once we become more familiar with something unknown–like cancer, or terrorism–we begin to be able to think about these frightening things with more rational thought.
This still begs the question: why don’t we trust our climate scientists after all these years, when we trust almost all other scientists implicitly, and generally instantly?
Things would probably be different with climate science if it were not for the doubt sowed by the Climate Change Counter Movement. Their nine hundred million dollars in annual funding can create a lot of doubt. Until this doubt is subdued by our actual implementation of climate pollution law or rule, our society basically has permission to disbelieve, or at least procrastinate. Without law, what are we?
Until that time, doubt will rage, apathy will rule. Our climate reform culture will remain in stasis. Uncertainty and suspicion will call the plays.
To make a difference when past strategies have failed so badly, global warming psychology says we need to think about it more. The more we think about it, the more comfortable our brains will be with the subject and our ability to have rational thought will increase.
Polar bears are really good at increasing thought about climate. Cliche to some, the science says that even the mere glimpse of a polar bear automatically clicks on climate change in our brains. We need more clicks. Uncertainty can be defeated, but it takes positive propaganda to counterbalance the negative.
The main strategy of this campaign is: Climate Change is Everywhere. Why? Climate change is hard to see because the impacts are hidden by the culture of climate change. We can’t tell if it’s climate change or not, right? We are societal unfamiliarity with the natural world and do not immediately recognize the dangers occurring already that are so plain to scientists. Because of doubt, the scientists are not taken at their word.
This “can’t tell…” thing? It’s another big one. We can tell. Scientists can tell. Each one of us sees it happening. What we don’t see though, is the meaning. What does it mean that we see some things are different? It means that enough climate change has occurred for impacts to begin. What we don’t see is what comes next.
The science says that today’s impacts are happening because after over 30 years, our climate has finally come into equilibrium with carbon dioxide in our atmosphere from the 1970s. Since then, we have emitted as much CO2 as we emitted in the previous 220 years. And once the impacts actually start to begin (like now) they begin to happen much faster. It’s like a pot of water on the stove. The closer it gets to boiling the fast the bubbles materialize.
The good news too, is masked by the culture of climate that we have created. New research has proven that technology, some as old as WWII submarine carbon dioxide treatment, can remove the excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere at a price that is far more economical than all of the emissions reductions strategies we have been trying to implement for a generation.
Global warming psychologists says we need to think about it more; so that the subject will become more familiar to our brains and our thoughts will become more rational. In other words, so we can once again trust our climate scientists.
The psychology says to link familiar things with climate change through innovative communication techniques. By portraying natural things and associating them with climate, like with the message “Climate Change is Everywhere” and a simple image of something outdoors, we create links in our brains and begin to build a platform of recognition, instead of one of suspicion.
Not all images and messages will do. The wrong thought, the wrong message–these things can trigger negative feedback processes in our minds. It’s tricky. This is why the climate change counter movement has been so successful all of these years.
Wear your message proudly.