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Climate Change: Why Don't We Care?

Recently, I spoke to a few mums who expressed their husband’s preference for generic nappies over eco-friendly nappies, even though they acknowledged and agreed that biodegradable nappies were better for the environment. These mums were at a loss because they wanted to do the right thing, but found it hard to persuade their partner that the financial sacrifice was worth it.

I don’t think this attitude is unique to the husbands of the women with whom I spoke. In fact, I think it is representative of a wider collective apathy that we all have towards the environment.

Have you ever thought any of the following?

 1.     Nothing I do will make a difference

2.     Eco-friendly/green alternatives are so expensive. Is it even worth it?

3.     Are the effects of climate change even that serious?

4.     If no one else cares, why do I have to?

5.     It’ll happen in the future when I’m dead so I don’t have to worry about it


If you answered yes to any of the above questions, this blog series written is for you.

In this week’s blog post, we will look at WHY we don’t care about climate change. In the coming posts, I will outline a few ways in which we can look at climate change that is hopefully more compelling and inspire us to action.


Why Don’t We Care About Climate Change?

In his Youtube video titled “Why People Don’t Believe In Climate Science”, Dr Hanson (“It’s Ok To Be Smart”) helpfully explains this psychological phenomenon. 

As humans, whilst we may understand and believe in the evidence for climate change, we do not respond to facts so much as we do to P.A.I.N. – things that are Personal, cause Abrupt changes in our environment, Immoral and affect us Now.

 And as you’ve guessed… climate change is the exact opposite of this. It is “a gradual, impersonal thing in the future”. It does not affect ‘ME’ personally (‘WE’ are all subject to the heat-waves and unusual weather patterns). Its effects are slow to manifest. We can argue whether it is immoral, but definitely not in the straightforward sense of the word. And though it’s taking place as we speak, our lives are not threatened in the moment.  

As such, most of us find that we are psychologically incapable of caring about the environment. Hanson explains that as humans, we have a “finite pool of worry” that includes things like family, money, work, crime, health, ageing and even the economy. And climate change does not fall within the pool…


So do I just give up?

 NO! In the next post titled “Climate Change: How Does It Affect Me NOW?”, I have outlined a few ways in which we might find climate change to be more urgent, by looking at how it affects us personally and in the short-term. 

What do you think? Do you recognise this thinking pattern, either in yourself or others? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below – I would love to hear from you!


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