Saturday, September 28, 2013

What we believe doesn’t matter. How we live matters.

"Most Americans are aware that climate change is a near-term threat to humanity. But what they believe doesn’t matter. How they live matters. By proceeding with business as usual, by living and working within the current system rather than fighting for a major social and political change—they live within the lie, prop up the lie, and maintain the collision course we are on. There are three major ways that the Climate Lie operates: Intellectual denial, emotional denial, and environmental tokenism.

Most people who “believe” in climate change do not “feel” the affects, emotionally, of what they know. They deny their own emotional response. They do not feel terror, anger, grief, or guilt. They do not feel the pull to organize with their fellow humans and fight back against climate change.

Much of this emotional denial is born from feelings of helplessness. People feel that there is nothing they can do. That the war is already lost. Maybe they could do something if they were in Congress or a scientist, but they are just a normal person, a citizen—climate change is out of their purview. The reality of climate change is too overwhelming, so they deaden themselves to their feelings.

Cynicism is a common expression of emotional denial. Many of the well-heeled, erudite, people whom I speak with about climate change tell me that “we are fucked.” Cynicism pairs intellectual belief with emotional denial and renunciation of personal responsibility and the social contract. Rather than work together to solve our shared problem, cynics declare climate change hopeless, a foregone conclusion."

Excerpt from "MIND, PSYCHE, SPIRIT: Living in Climate Truth" by Margaret Klein

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

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