Recently I was walking into a shopping centre to buy my groceries when I overheard a man declaiming to his wife that climate change wasn’t caused by human activity. According to him the planet goes through natural cycles of warming and cooling. There is nothing to worry about, he assured her.
He was a young man and, while not wanting to make superficial judgements about people based on their appearance, he did not appear to have the demeanor of a leading climatologist. To me he looked more like your average tradie.
Whatever his background he was very sure of his opinions and his wife positively wilted under the force of them.
Walking on I wondered what made him so adamant. As I went about buying food in the unavoidable single use plastic bags that industry wraps basic essentials in, I considered Elizabeth Kubler Ross and the stages of grief she defined:-
The 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them. https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/
I’m wondering whether these people who declare so dogmatically that climate change is not a result of human activity are actually in denial. After all, coming to the realization that the climate change is caused by our own actions can raise questions about our fundamental approach to the environment. Most people fear making big changes in their lifestyle. They are comfortable with things as they are now.
Comfort aside, the evidence that something is seriously wrong with the climate is growing. Still though our politicians are refusing to act or even acknowledge that action is necessary. Over here in Australia the current conservative Government is perfecting the art of double-speak. I recently read that our latest Environmental Minister is on her way to the Pacific Islands to assure the people of Tuvalu that Australia is upholding the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Meanwhile the people of Tuvalu are shoring up their coastline as the sea washes away their homes. Many have already had to evacuate to New Zealand. https://www.climate.gov/teaching/resources/tuvalu-islands-frontline-climate-change
Yesterday I read an online article about the recent heat wave in Europe. The article described how the temperatures were the hottest on record. However, the writer assured readers, scientists could not attribute this to climate change. What scientists? The science teachers at the local conservative high school? It’s funny how these scientists who deny climate change are rarely named.
Yesterday I also read that the Medieval Warm Period that many climate change deniers use as evidence for their argument did not occur across the globe but was a localized event. The current rise in temperature is occurring across the globe. https://skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period.htm
To me it’s alarmingly clear that climate change is happening and that human activity is the cause. If I apply the Kubler Ross stages of grief to myself I would say I’m in depression. All my previous blog posts about climate change have been a kind of bargaining – a way of imploring people to wake up before it’s too late. The recent election results in Australia sent me and many people I know into depression. We really believed that we could change the situation politically and influence government policy. What actually happened was that many voters were swayed by the media. Rupert Murdoch and a couple of billionaire miners convinced people that acting on climate change would cause massive job losses and result in economic catastrophe.
I have a set of Oracle Cards that are based on Native American philosophies. Recently I read the commentary on one card that finished with a prayer that all people would find healing. These days I find the prayer that springs to mind for me is that all people will wake up to the reality of climate change. If more and more of us move into a position where we accept the reality we will able to find the ways and means to create positive change.