Global warming is starting to get on our nerves. 😤 Natural disaster here, danger there… Why so much fear mongering, when the situation doesn’t seem so terrible from where we stand?
Just kidding. Don’t worry: our copywriter is not going crazy. We just wanted to have some fun. 😉
In fact, part of the reason things are going so poorly with the climate is due to this way of thinking. 💭 And the timing is really bad: according to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the next three years will determine whether or not we can reverse the trend that is driving us, day after day, towards a real disaster.
But how did we get there? We’re not talking about the method here - that we all know, right? In this article, we will not only dismantle seven “reasons” not to believe in global warming, but we’ll also get into some of the psychology of this phenomenon, perhaps concerning those most affected by this 🧠
🧐 Climate change: 7 reasons not to believe in it
1. « We have other fish to fry! » 🐱
We are fed up with ecology. 😤 We have other fish to fry! There’s no time to worry about that. The ecology doesn’t pay the rent, right?
Yes. Ecology does not pay the rent. But if the rising water takes away the house, the rent problem will be solved.
Come on, enough jokes. This is a fact: ecology is not a priority in many countries.
👋 As an illustration, according to one CBS NEWS’ survey conducted in April 2022, climate change only ranks at the bottom of the "high priority" issues of American people. After economy, inflation, crime, Russia/Ukraine and immigration.
2. « Our life is not impacted, it’s okay. » 🧘♂️
We don’t really see the difference. We live like we did twenty years ago and everything is fine. No noticeable change in our lives and in our daily lives.
What can we say? Except that you have to live in a cave, away from any modern means of communication to ignore the consequences of global warming that are spreading in the media. 😒 And the least we can say is that they are more and more recurrent!
Our daily lives are impacted by climate change. The degradation of air quality is not without consequences for our health: according to an epidemiological study carried out on 10 European cities, living close to major roads would be a factor in 15-30% of new cases of child asthma.
3. « Humans are able to adapt to climate change, there is nothing to make a big deal out of it! » 😒
Human beings are not on their trial run! Over the centuries, we’ve adapted to the changes we’ve been faced with since the Cro-Magnon Man!
Yes, human beings are remarkably able to adapt, but there are some limits.
Like animals, the human species must migrate when its environment is no longer liveable. However, the current rules - the borders in other words - do not allow us to migrate from one country to another according to our moods.
One illustration? The controversies on immigration that mark the political debate in many countries.
Okay: let’s assume that all people threatened by climate change will adapt very well and migrate towards other territories… What’s going to happen?
We cannot decently expect the populations concerned to agree without flinching to return to territories where their lives are threatened by global warming. Other nations will have to welcome them, if we do not want the issue to degenerate into armed conflict. 😨
Are we ready for that? That’s the whole problem. And that’s why it’s a big deal.
According to the IPCC, some 3.3 to 3.6 billion people - out of the world’s 7.8 billion people - live in countries vulnerable to climate change. No less than 220 million climate migrants are expected by 2050. 😱 And this is only the beginning.
4. « Our efforts have no impact on global warming » 😖
What do you want me to do? It won’t change anything if I make an effort: I won’t save the planet all by myself! My neighbor makes no effort! It is up to politicians to legislate things so that people make changes!
If everyone thinks like that, things are going to get really complicated. If everyone waits for their neighbor to make an effort, the fight is lost.
Think again: every action counts. We can still reverse the trend but we need to act all together.
Moreover, even if it is regrettable, the actions of the political class are influenced by public opinion. If people do not make the environment a priority and focus their attention on other things - or prioritize other things - there is little chance that our elite will make it a priority as well.
The impetus must come from everyone. This is the only way to effectively reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). As the IPCC says, “in general, scientists agree that the transition to a low-carbon society will require a systemic change in infrastructure and behavior.”
Some steps can only be taken by our governments: providing financial support to the poorest populations so that they are not excluded from ecological transition, for example. As well as starting the switch to renewable energy, the renovation of our buildings, etc.
But let’s be frank: not throwing your cigarette butts on the beach is within everyone’s reach. The same goes for plastic and all our waste.
Several climate-friendly actions can be undertaken at the individual level:
- changing one’s diet - limiting one’s meat consumption, which is responsible for 15% of global GHG emissions;
- fight waste by buying less but better;
- opting as often as possible for public transport, cycling and walking in place of the use of cars;
- consume seasonal and if possible local products;
👉👉 A more respectful lifestyle would allow citizens to achieve between 25% and 27% of the total savings needed to keep warming at 1.5°C by 2030 (according to the “Power of People” study).
5. « The climate has always changed, and this is perfectly normal. » 🌤
The climate is changing! It’s cyclical and it’s perfectly normal! Stop worrying people for nothing!
The climate has always changed. But current climate change is faster and more violent than the variations observed in previous centuries. 😅
Moreover, the global warming we are experiencing is directly linked to the CO2 emissions generated by human activity since the industrial revolution.
The IPCC’s Sixth Report is clear on this point: “since 1970, global temperature has risen faster than over any other 50-year period over the past two millennia.”
6. « There’s nothing to worry about if the planet warms up by one small degree. » 🌡
It’s ridiculous: the world will not stop spinning because of one small degree. Even two! Let’s be realistic.
It’s a monumental mistake to believe this. The consequences of one small degree can be irreversible. Even if this “tiny” increase is not visible or felt by people.
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction estimates that 560 natural disasters will occur each year by 2030 - 350 to 500 currently. 💥
As an illustration, one additional degree increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere by 7%. The consequence? More precipitation and flooding. In the long term, this could even cause marine submersions.
In addition, ecosystems are hit hard by this slight temperature difference:
- many animal and plant species are threatened with extinction by 2100;
- 99% of the coral reef could disappear due to ocean acidification;
- natural resources are decreasing in quality and may soon no longer be available.
👉 That’s why we have to limit warming to 2°C - ideally 1.5°C - while respecting the Paris Agreement.
7. « We had snow again this winter, no pressure! » ❄️
Global warming!? It’s -1°C this morning, I don’t see the problem!
This illustrates the confusion between the notions of climate and weather: the first one is an analysis of long periods over the entire planet, while the second predicts the weather over a short time and at a specific location.
To have an objective view of the situation, it is necessary to take into account the average temperatures recorded around the world.
In addition, snow is becoming increasingly scarce as the years go by. The thickness and duration of snow cover are already affected by climate change. If warming reaches +2°C, it will have to eventually be replaced by artificial snow.
😅 Why do we have such a hard time taking climate change seriously?
We suffer from a wide ignorance 🤔
Let’s be frank: climate change is a technical issue. We only have to look at the IPCC report to see it.
We could think that this report contributes to making the phenomenon of global warming noticeable to the public: every five years, this group of experts publishes an extremely comprehensive report on the planet’s health.
👉👉 According to the IPCC, the Earth has already warmed by +1.1°C. And warming is expected to reach +2.7°C by the end of the century.
However, the visibility of this report remains relatively low - despite the vital information it contains. Remember what happened in the beginning of 2022: the release of the alarming findings of the sixth and last report was largely overshadowed by the war in Ukraine.
Finally, not being informed about the reality of climate change is the safest way to avoid being confronted with disturbing information. In fact, it is easier to deny the evidence than to put in place solutions deemed binding.
Our brain doesn’t help us 🧠
There’s nothing to do. Despite the numerous scientific publications and warning messages (too few) relayed by the media, we cannot accept the urgency of the situation. However, all the lights are red and we no longer have time to stall. ⏳
But why is it so difficult to react? 🔎 In reality, the problem is much more complex than we think… Yes: our ecological inaction could also come from a specific area of our brain, called striatum.
Considered as very primitive, it is present in most animals and guides all our desires. To do this, the striatum sends dopamine - a molecule responsible for pleasure - prompting us to perform certain actions, which originally allowed us to survive - eat, reproduce, etc. - then gradually evolved into broader domains.
However, this feeling of pleasure remains limited, forcing the striatum to send dopamine regularly. This creates addiction, also known as “hedonic habituation”.
What does climate change have to do with it? 🍃 To put it simply, our striatum creates daily “dilemmas”.
In fact, we multiply polluting behaviors, often synonymous with dopamine, to show our success - buying a car, for example - or to satisfy our desires - consuming goods produced by polluting industries without moderation.
However, this reward system is being undermined by our cerebral cortex - the organ of intelligence - which is well aware of the climate emergency.
👉 Unfortunately, the battle between desire and reason is played out in advance. Developed later than the striatum (in the history of human evolution), the cerebral cortex is often not a strong enough opponent in face of our basic desires.
However, according to neuroscience doctor Sébastien Bohler, author of the book Human Bug, it is possible to reverse the trend by “dragging” the striatum from childhood.
To save our planet and “free ourselves from the grip of striatum”, it is necessary to teach our children, from an early age, to consume in a more reasonable way.
We don’t feel concerned 🙄
Because of our striatum. 😬 An individual who does not feel concerned by a cause does not act. It is - unfortunately - in our nature.
Indeed, the striatum requires instant rewards, giving less value to the impact of its actions that only pay off in the future.
In short, the more abstract the threat, the more unreal and therefore more harmless it seems. We can see this far beyond the field of ecology: the more distant a conflict seems to us, the less they move us. On the other hand, when it’s three hours away, you start to worry.
Concretely, an individual will be more likely to act in favor of ecology if he is directly impacted. Conversely, if the problems are remote - in the future or at the other end of the globe - it is very complicated for him to feel fully concerned or to make the connection with his own behavior.
Basically, you hear about it , you get emotional, and then you move on.
We are in denial and put our heads in the sand 🙈
One might think that the fact that “our house is burning” - as French President Jacques Chirac said - leads us to question ourselves and take immediate action. But that is not the case.
We remain silent, in spite of this threat hanging over our heads, which will one day become the problem of our children. 🗡
We have a hard time accepting the fact that the planet could be destroyed by our actions - and destroy us with it. The fact is that we are creating the conditions for our own extinction. 😳
We are responsible for global warming. And we know that. But we do not want to accept this disturbing truth, to the point of letting the planet deteriorate, hoping that a miracle solution will spring - technology, who knows.
To be in denial is one of the mechanisms of defense of the human species. Refusing to acknowledge the facts is a way not to have to change your lifestyle. Not to disturb your comfort.
🌱 Calculate your carbon footprint!
This article was not happy and we are sorry about it. But there are problems that cannot be watered down, at the risk of lessening their seriousness. However, we are not the doomsday messengers : we want to actively contribute to the development of solutions.
So, if you also want to engage in the fight against climate change and wring the neck of your striatum, start by calculating the carbon balance of your company!
Our experts await your call! ☎️
🚀 if you enjoyed reading this article, here are a few more :