By understanding emotional barriers to action, we may be able to devise better guidelines for communication, advocacy and policy.
Explaining Our Failure To Act
Lertzman’s research seeks to explain why we fail to act on climate change, even when we’re aware of the magnitude of the threat that lies before us.
It’s not just because people don’t care, she argues. Rather, our emotional response to the issue, which for many people is a deep but unprocessed sense of anxiety and loss, can leave us feeling powerless and paralyzed.
This arrested state of unprocessed grief over the destruction of the natural world, which she refers to as “environmental melancholia,” blocks us from taking action.
“There’s this feeling of loss but it hasn’t been named, partly because we’re not used to talking about it in our culture … It’s a kind of loss that people are experiencing on both a personal and a social level,” she said. “It’s a loss that comes with either seeing or experiencing changes in our environment, or hearing about those changes.”
Lertzman conducted research in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in which she surveyed and interviewed people who weren’t particularly engaged with the environment.
“What I heard was a sense of loss and longing and nostalgia,” she said. “People would spend many hours telling me about how distressed and sad they are about the way things are changing, and also their sense of powerlessness. Then I would hear people move quickly to denying that they care at all.”
Read more at the link! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/climate-change-psychology_us_5674272ee4b014efe0d52186