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Does Climate change Exist or it depends on your state of mind? Here is the Answer!

Human activity affects climate changes around the world depends on your political views, at least in the United States

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An undated photo shows the effect of bleaching on coral off Caye Caulker, Belize.VOA
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October 8, 2016: Whether or not you think human activity affects climate changes around the world depends on your political views, at least in the United States.

That’s the conclusion of a Pew Research study, which found that people who deny there is any human impact on the climate, or that it’s even changing, have more in common than just politics.

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It’s the psychology of denial, according to a thesis by Kirsti Jylhä of Sweden’s Uppsala University, who has been studying humans’ reaction to climate change for years.

She has found that people who deny climate change tend to be male, conservative and authoritarian. They endorse the status quo, are low in empathy and avoid feeling negative emotions. Taken together, Jhylhä says, all of these tendencies point to a group of people who score high on personality traits known as social dominance orientation, or SDO.

‘Social dominance’ scores

People with high-SDO tend to be more accepting of dominant relationships among groups, and, she points out, this “also extends to accepting human dominance over nature.”

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That may not seem to be a particularly desirable group of personality traits, but Jhylhä said her research is not intended to brand climate change deniers as close-minded. Instead, she hoped to learn why it is so hard to communicate the deadly serious realities of climate change to a population that all too often just doesn’t want to hear it.

One of the big problems in getting humans to address the real problem of climate change, according to psychologists, is that the stakes are so high. Writing in Psychology Today, psychologist Steve Taylor wonders what could be more uncomfortable than “the idea that our activities may be destroying the ability of our planet to sustain life.”

Some avoid thinking about catastrophes

When you think about coastal flooding, droughts, mega-storms, it feels like a disaster movie made real. As Jhylhä says, “Catastrophic scenarios may increase negative emotions and make individuals avoid thinking about the issue. Also, it may cause some to perceive the issue as overstated, particularly if they are currently not perceiving clear effects of climate change in their everyday lives.”

So how to switch the tenor of conversations about climate change to motivate people to take action? Jhylhä suggests one should not focus on the environmental destruction that human activity is causing, but instead emphasising how direct action to control climate change benefits everyone.

“It would perhaps be better,” she said, “to talk in other terms and describe how everyone will benefit from the measures [to limit climate change] instead of being affected by the consequences.”

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That makes climatic changes, which deniers tend to reject, less likely to trigger disputes. Psychologist Allen McConnell puts it this way: “Focusing people on long-term good” and establishing rewards for good behavior “can produce better outcomes.”

The takeaway from all this is that no matter what your psychological motivation is for either acting to limit climate change, or denying that it exists, there is a constructive way to talk about and possibly tackle its complex and disturbing realities. (VOA)

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  • Antara

    An extremely informative article! Stunning facts about the change in climate!!

  • Diksha Arya

    Great article…

Next Story

Women Are Rarely “Put Front And Center” At The Heart Of Climate Action

Feminism doesn't mean excluding men

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Former President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson speaks during a meeting at Associated Press headquarters, in New York, May 8, 2017.
Former President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson speaks during a meeting at Associated Press headquarters, in New York, May 8, 2017. VOA

Women must be at the heart of climate action if the world is to limit the deadly impact of disasters such as floods, former Irish president and U.N. rights commissioner Mary Robinson said on Monday.

Robinson, also a former U.N. climate envoy, said women were most adversely affected by disasters and yet are rarely “put front and center” of efforts to protect the most vulnerable.

“Climate change is a man-made problem and must have a feminist solution,” she said at a meeting of climate experts at London’s Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship.

“Feminism doesn’t mean excluding men, it’s about being more inclusive of women and – in this case – acknowledging the role they can play in tackling climate change.”

Research has shown that women’s vulnerabilities are exposed during the chaos of cyclones, earthquakes and floods, according to the British think-tank Overseas Development Institute.

In many developing countries, for example, women are involved in food production, but are not allowed to manage the cash earned by selling their crops, said Robinson.

Earth depletion
Earth depletion, Pixabay

The lack of access to financial resources can hamper their ability to cope with extreme weather, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of the event.

“Women all over the world are … on the front lines of the fall-out from climate change and therefore on the forefront of climate action,” said Natalie Samarasinghe, executive director of Britain’s United Nations Association.

“What we — the international community — need to do is talk to them, learn from them and support them in scaling up what they know works best in their communities,” she said at the meeting.

Also read: Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wines

Robinson served as Irish president from 1990-1997 before taking over as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and now leads a foundation devoted to climate justice. (VOA)