Hello dear readers!
Glad to have you back! ^-^
Last week, I mentioned that this blog will be about understanding how people respond to the global environmental issue. To start, I’ve asked myself, “When someone tells us about climate change and global warming, what factors determine our response?”
For me, I have come to realise that my desire to protect the environment is rooted belief – belief in what the general media and science tells us about the state of the Earth and how it came to be so. But, what about people who don’t share these same beliefs? What about the climate change deniers?
Some of us may think climate change denial is not worth discussing. If there is any discussion, it usually ends with someone exclaiming, “Don’t these people have any brains?”
Well, this Big Think article on a research paper published in the Nature Climate Change journal would like to declare otherwise. By studying a thousand over Americans’ opinions towards climate change, their intellectual capabilities and their political and societal ideals, the paper’s authors discovered that greater intellectual skill was associated with a greater tendency to disregard climate change. Rather, people’s political and societal expectations were a more accurate indicator of someone’s stance on climate change. In a simplistic example: If one identifies as a supporter of President Trump, they’re more likely to echo his anti-environment rhetoric, because that’s what being a Trump supporter seems to be all about.
Many articles out there have discussed the psychological factors behind climate change denial, the most prominent one being cognitive bias, and this research finding seems to be in line with that idea. That’s all good, but, what do we do with such information?
Going back to the Big Think article, writer David Berreby brought up an interesting point when he credited the researchers for not giving in to their own bias: “The tendency to see these sort of results as an explanation for why other people don’t do the right thing.” He went on to elaborate:
“We needn’t accept every damn fool argument that comes down the road, but we do need to accept that we’re all inclined to protect damn fool arguments that are associated with our identities. Environmentalists… are likely – just like their opponents – to reject science that doesn’t fit their received opinions.”
To learn that environmental advocates are subject to the same flaws as deniers is humbling, don’t you think?
I’ve been fortunate enough to receive an education that enforces the importance and reliability of science. For many others like me, it may be tempting to simply hurl insults at the intelligence (or lack thereof) of people who denounce climate change. But I hope what I’ve shared today has nudged you towards questioning the point in doing so, and perhaps even your own beliefs. I’ve been thinking about these things myself, and perhaps it’ll be topics for the future.
Until the next post, thanks for reading!