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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

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)

  • Antara

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

  • Diksha Arya

    Great article…

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EU Countries Consume Earth’s Resources Faster than they can be Renewed: Report

Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying "Broken Climate Broken Future"

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France's President Emmanuel Macron, right, and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker speak during the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. VOA

The European Union’s 28 countries consume the Earth’s resources faster than they can be renewed and none of them has sustainable consumption policies, a report released Thursday said, as EU leaders met to discuss priorities for the next five years.

“All EU countries are living beyond the means of our planet. The EU and its citizens are currently using twice more than the EU ecosystems can renew,” the report by the World Wide Fund (WWF) and Global Footprint Network said. It was issued as leaders met in the Romanian city of Sibiu to set the course for the bloc after Britain’s planned departure from the EU.

Climate change key priority

French President Emmanuel Macron said before the summit that climate change was among his key priorities and it was included in the bloc’s 10 “commitments” for the future until 2024, agreed by all the 27 leaders meeting in Sibiu.

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The European Union’s 28 countries consume the Earth’s resources faster than they can be renewed and none of them has sustainable consumption policies. Pixabay

But the bloc is divided on how to achieve any ambitious climate goals and it remains far from clear how the Sibiu declaration would be implemented. Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying “Broken Climate Broken Future.”

“We cannot talk about a prosperous future without a healthy climate,” Greenpeace climate activist Alin Tanase told Reuters. Views on concrete action to be taken to combat climate change differ between EU countries, influenced greatly by their dominant industries, such as carmakers in Germany or the coal industry in Poland.

Tusk sensitive to climate change

The chairman of the summit, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, said there was no future for politicians who were not sensitive to climate change and environment protection issues.

“The young generation is much more united on this than the member states. The truth is that nothing has changed when it comes to this divide and different opinions about this. What is new is this very fresh and energetic pressure,” he told a news conference after the summit.

climate change, earth's resources
Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying “Broken Climate Broken Future.” VOA

Climate protection and sustainable development is also an important topic in the election campaign for the May 23-26 European Parliament elections, which will influence the leadership of European institutions and their programs.

The European Commission has been pushing for the EU to become climate neutral by 2050 through reducing carbon emissions that will otherwise boost the Earth’s average temperatures with devastating consequences.

“The EU uses up almost 20 percent of the Earth’s bio-capacity although it comprises only 7 percent of the world population,” the WWF report said. “In other words, 2.8 planets would be needed if everyone consumed at the rate of the average EU resident,” it said.

climate change, earth's resources
FILE – Climate change demonstrators hold banners in front of the Winston Churchill Statue during a protest near Parliament in London, April 12, 2019. VOA

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Luxembourg smallest but fastest

It said the EU’s smallest and richest country, Luxembourg, was also the one which used up renewable resources the fastest last year. Just 46 days into the year, it had consumed its full share of the Earth’s resources, it said.

The EU’s poorest nation, Romania, took the longest to arrive at that point, on July 12th. But that was still earlier than the world’s average of Aug. 1, called Earth overshoot day. (VOA)