Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

(This is not a plug for a book)
On 9/23/14 Rutgers Climate Institute
hosted a lively presentation and book-signing by George Marshal for his publication: Don’t Even Think About It (Why Out Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change).

Some relevant points were made that might be of value to you when communicating with the public, including:

The phenomenon of Socially Constructed Silence:
-  Even the UN never engages the issues regarding fossil fuels.
- Our brains are wired to much more easily accept that Climate Change will affect plants and animals and future generations than us, personally.
- As individuals, we suffer from the “Passive bystander effect” when confronted with issues, and tend to react (or not react/interact) depending on how the group around us responds.
- Our brains compartmentalize things we see and experience, and Climate Change is not good at catching our attention and holding it; but it is good at catching and having our brain file it away through a process he calls “dis-attention” (actively ignoring something unpleasant or overwhelming).

In discussion afterwards he noted that as advocates, we are much more effective when we personalize our presentations and thoughts.  For example: “Don’t argue the point… present it as ‘This is how I came to my views.’”

His contact information includes:

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