Patricia Gualinga stands serenely as chaos swirls about her. I find this petite woman with striking black and red face paint at the head of the People’s Climate March in New York City on...
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The climate crisis has such bad timing, confronting it not only requires a new economy but a new way of thinking.
› Climate change is place-based, and we are everywhere at once. The problem is not just that we are moving too quickly. It is also that the terrain on which the changes are taking place is intensely local: an early blooming of a particular flower, an unusually thin layer of ice on a lake, the late arrival of a migratory bird. Noticing those kinds of subtle changes requires an intimate connection to a specific ecosystem. That kind of communion happens only when we know a place deeply, not just as scenery but also as sustenance, and when local knowledge is passed on with a sense of sacred trust from one generation to the next... (Click title for more)
If you were to enter a church, mosque, or synagogue determined to plunder it before burning it down, you would probably end up in custody. Do the same to Earth, temple and home to us all, and you might be eligible for a government subsidy. Isn't that strange?
When psychologists talk about splitting, they refer to the habit of keeping sectors of life that belong together divided into different compartments. The unhealed child abuse survivor grows up to forget that the parent who beat them savagely was the parent they now idealize as an exemplar of loving discipline. The producer of violent films forbids his children to watch them. The speed dater with a track record of ending up with exploitative men convinces herself, again, that this man is the one she's been waiting for. The troll who attends church on Sunday spends the rest of the week vilifying people online.
Splitting, an emotional defense of early childhood, has become a character disorder of American society. News networks whose politician guests pushed the disastrous war in Iraq but never landed in prison...(Click title for more)
Rising global temperatures may cause a big jolt in the number of lightning strikes in the United States over the rest of the 21st century in the latest example of extreme weather spawned by climate change, scientists say.
Researchers forecast on Thursday that lightning strikes will increase by about 50 percent by 2100 in the continental United States because thunderstorms will become more explosive in the coming decades thanks to a warming planet.
This increase could lead to more wildfires because lightning already triggers half of these blazes in the United States... (Click title for more)
In this review essay, Thomas Berry's The Great Work is contextualized within Berry's overarching cosmological project. Special attention is paid to Berry's critique of economic corporations, as well as his interpretation of globalization and his assessment of an alleged decline of the nation state, claims that run counter to certain contemporary social scientific research offering more complex depictions of such phenomena. The critique of democracy in Berry's work, and its potential implications, is also critically addressed.
"What happens to the outer world happens to the inner world," Berry avers. "If the outer world is diminished in its grandeur than the emotional, imaginative, intellectual, and spiritual life of the human is diminished or extinguished" (p. 200).
Our inner being will die if we continue to transform natural beauty into the soul-deadening, concrete-laden, box-store landscapes of a consumer society. "Our quest for wonderworld," Berry tersely observes, "is creating a waste-world" (p. 68). "Without the soaring birds, the great forests, the sounds and coloration of the insects, the free-flowing streams, the flowering fields, the sight of the clouds by day and the stars at night, we become impoverished in all that makes us human" (p. 200).
Psychologists are offering new insight and solutions to help counter climate change, while helping people cope with the environmental, economic and health impacts already taking a toll on people's lives, according to a special issue of American Psychologist, the American Psychological Association's flagship journal.
Climate change "poses significant risks for -- and in many cases is already affecting -- a broad range of human and natural systems," according to the May-June issue's introductory article, "Psychology's Contributions to Understanding and Addressing Global Climate Change." The authors call upon psychologists to increase research and work closely with industry, government and education to address climate change.
The role psychologists can play may be different from what many people expect. "Psychological contributions to limiting climate change will come not from trying to change people's attitudes, but by helping..(Click title for more)
Examining the psychological task of change, Mary-Jayne Rust looks at the ways in which we respond to the environmental crisis. How do old stories underlie our present reality?
While few people would now deny the reality of climate change and environmental crisis, many are still turning a blind eye to the situation we face. We are having great difficulty in making even the simplest of changes to our lives. The global scale of our crisis is overwhelming and it is easy to feel apathetic in response. This is made easier when our consumer lifestyles keep us well within our comfort zones.
I have fallen in love outward.
“Of course we humans are mightily special....Our opposable thumbs, our ability to balance and ambulate on our hind legs, our capacity for reflection, and our slyness with tools and ever-more-complex technologies entail that we are a pretty unique bunch.
But then again, that hawk soaring overhead is able to fly without any of the contrivances that we depend upon, and the apple tree over there is able to squeeze apples directly out of its limbs, which in itself is pretty damn unique, and a far cry from anything that I can muster with my own body.
Perhaps you could say that the compelling stories we two-leggeds regularly concoct could be called an efflorescence, or even a kind of fruit, like those apples. But still, the way that some whales dive to a depth of six thousand feet, holding their breath for over ninety minutes, seems another kind of astonishment, as is the journey of monarch butterflies. After overwintering in a small cluster of conifers in the Mexican highlands, the monarchs navigate their way north... (Click title for more)
Once people believe that they cannot do anything to change a situation, they tend to react in all sorts of unhelpful ways. They may become dependent on others (i.e., by believing that the government or corporations will fix things, or that technology has all the answers), resigned ("if it happens, it happens"), cynical ("there's no way you can stop people from driving their cars everywhere - convenience is more important to most people than looking after the environment"), or fed up with the topic.
Although environmental threats are real and can be frightening, remaining in a state of heightened distress is not helpful for ourselves or for others. We generally cope better, and are more effective at making changes, when we are calm and rational.
People who are concerned about the environment, and are trying to make a positive difference, need to look after themselves to keep their enthusiasm and motivation up, and to protect themselves from disillusionment or burn out. The following suggestions may help you to ‘stick with it'.
Photographer James Balog used to be sceptical about climate change. This was until 2005, when he was sent to the Arctic for an assignment.
Disturbing statistics released by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in the US in August (2012) showed how sea ice cover in the Arctic had reached its lowest amountsince satellite observation began in 1979. The data concluded that just 1.58m square miles was now covered by ice – 27,000 square miles less than the previous record, set in September 2007. This figure decreased even further as summer melting continued in the region throughout September.
Chasing Ice doesn’t only map out the decline of some of the world’s biggest glaciers; it also marks wholesale changes in Balog’s views. It’s hard to believe that the man on screen, who appears so passionate about documenting these pristine landscapes, was once sceptical about mankind’s impact on climate change.
The return of tornado season with a vengeance has people asking again about a possible link to climate change. At the same time, tantalizing new preliminary research finds “some evidence to suggest that tornadoes are, in fact, getting stronger.” I talk to the lead scientist behind that research... (Click title for more)
Every spring Monarch butterflies fly north from Mexico, and many of them travel through Texas on their 2,000 mile journey to the central and northern United States and Canada.
With luck, their grandchildren, or great-grandchildren will fly south for the winter, where they spend the winter at a few sites in Mexico.
One of the best ways that conservationists have to measure the overall health of the Monarch butterfly population is by the size of the area they occupy in tight clusters during the winter in Mexico. In the 1990s this area averaged about 15 acres. In the 2000s it was about 9 acres.
This winter the Monarchs occupied less than 1.7 acres in Mexico...(click title for more)
Psychology also mostly ignores humanity's psychologically-dysfunctional relationship with nature that results in the ecodical behavior that is causing global catastrophe. In spite of abundant scientific information about the shocking effects of human actions on planetary ecosystems (our own life-support systems and the life-support systems of countless other life forms!), few psychologists concern themselves with the task of helping us understand or change that behavior.
But as Ralph Metzner reminded us in 1999, "It is in the hearts and minds of human beings that the causes and cures of the ecocatastrophe are to be found." Surely finding this cure is a task that psychologists and other mental health professionals are morally obliged to urgently undertake given our present circumstances?.... (Click title for more)
When I was a boy, we lived in the Holocene. That’s what the geologists called it, anyway, from the Greek words for “entirely new.” The term was settled on in 1885 and defined as the geological epoch that followed the end of the Pleistocene about 12,000 years ago, after the retreat of the ice from the northern hemisphere, as the planet entered one of its periodic interglacial periods. The Holocene, a relatively mild, even balmy, period, saw the rise of human civilization—indeed, all of recorded human history. Bet we’ll miss it when it’s gone.
Almost two centuries after the beginning of the industrial revolution in Europe, an ecologist named Eugene F. Stoermer coined the word “anthropocene” to refer to the evidence of the human impact on the planet, an impact he judged to be on par with the great geological events of the past. The word means the “human new.” He started using the word in the early 1980s, but it didn’t catch on until 2000, when he and Paul Crutzen used the word in print for the first time. While not officially adopted... (click title for more)
Will ocean acidification disrupt the planet's ecosystem before climate change does?
Climate change is not the only outcome of increased greenhouse gas concentrations. The oceans have absorbed a lot of the excess carbon in the atmosphere, reducing the impacts of climate change to date, but at a cost. Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere have led to an increase in acidity of ocean water, a process known as ocean acidification. The process of acidification is laid out by Cheryl Logan in a user-friendly 2010 summary in the journal Bioscience.
Ocean acidification occurs when CO2 dissolves in ocean water, undergoing a chemical reaction that produces carbonic acid. The rate of this reaction is completely predictable and as a result the progression of acidification as CO2 levels increase is completely predictable. Unlike climate change, ocean acidification is not controversial at all—... (click title for more)
Global warming is likely playing a bigger role than previously thought in dead zones in oceans, lakes and rivers around the world and it's only going to get worse, according to a new study.
Dead zones occur when fertilizer runoff clogs waterways with nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous. That leads to an explosion of microbes that consumes oxygen and leaves the water depleted of oxygen, harming marine life.
Scientists have long known that warmer water increases this problem, but a new study Monday in the journal Global Change Biology by Smithsonian Institution researchers found about two dozen different ways — biologically, chemically and physically — that climate change worsens the oxygen depletion... (Click title for more)
Global warming has doubled the chances that any given winter in Europe or northern Asia will be unusually severe, according to new research.
Specifically, temperatures have risen at the poles much faster than around the rest of the planet, leading to the collapse of Arctic sea ice coverage and altering weather patterns in the northern hemisphere. The research was recently published in Nature Geoscience, and relied on a the combined output of 100 different simulations — “the most comprehensive computer modeling study to date,” as The Guardian put it.
Several recent severe winters in Europe have already been associated with the recent years where the melting of the Arctic ice cap was most severe. And by the 2030s, the Arctic is expected to be completely free of ice in the late summer... (click title for more)
Awesome new street art unintentionally shames our leaders into paying attention to climate change.
“Politicians discussing global warming” — that’s what social media users have dubbed this tiny puddle sculpture by Spanish street artist Isaac Cordal.
The image has gone viral in the past few days and it’s obvious why. With sea levels projected to rise up to three feet by the end of the century, it's a stark reminder of our collective failure to act on climate change.
Or maybe not.
As it turns out, Cordal's sculpture is actually called “electoral campaign” and it's part of a larger street art installation called “Follow the leaders.” The tiny cement figures, arranged in bleak scenes of urban disintegration, represent the faceless businessmen who run our capitalist global order.
“These pieces reflect our own decline,” says Cordal. “We live immersed in the collapse of a system that needs change.”... (Click title for more)
Via Bonnie Bright
Despite the fact that more people now acknowledge that climate change represents a significant threat to human well-being, this has yet to translate into any meaningful action. Psychologists may have an answer as to why this is
Today the scientific community is in almost total agreement that the earth’s climate is changing as a result of human activity, and that this represents a huge threat to the planet and to us. According to a Pew survey conducted in March, however, public opinion lags behind the scientific conclusion, with only 69% of those surveyed accepting the view that the earth is warming — and only 1 in 4 Americans see global warming as a major threat. Still, 69% is a solid majority, which begs the question, Why aren’t we doing anything about it?
This political inertia in the face of unprecedented threat is the most fundamental challenge to tackling climate change. Climate scientists and campaigners have long debated how to better communicate the message to nonexperts so that climate science can be translated into action. According to Christopher Rapley, professor of climate science at University College London, the usual tactic of climate experts to provide the public withinformation isn’t enough because “it does not address key underlying causes.”...(click title for more)
Without hope, the horror of climate change paralyzes rather than politicizes.
There is a brutal conundrum at the heart of the fight against catastrophic climate change: when people grasp just how dire things are, they’re as likely to hunker down as to rise up. Maybe more likely.
A haunting New York Times Magazine story demonstrates this. It’s about Paul Kingsnorth, a onetime environmental activist who has essentially given up, devoting himself instead to a multifaceted project of grief and survival called Dark Mountain. “Everything had gotten worse,” Kingsnorth told writer Daniel Smith. “You look at every trend that environmentalists like me have been trying to stop for 50 years, and every single thing had gotten worse. And I thought: I can’t do this anymore. I can’t sit here saying: ‘Yes, comrades, we must act! We only need one more push, and we’ll save the world!’ I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it! So what do I do?”
What Kingsnorth did was draft an apocalyptic manifesto, titled Uncivilisation. “It is, it seems, our civilisation’s turn to experience the inrush of the savage and the unseen; our turn to be brought up short by contact with untamed reality,” he wrote. “There is a fall coming... (Click title for more)
While most Americans think climate change is an important issue, they don’t see it as an immediate threat, so getting people to “go green” requires policymakers, scientists and marketers to look at psychological barriers to change and what leads people to action, according to a task force of the American Psychological Association.
Scientific evidence shows the main influences of climate change are behavioral – population growth and energy consumption. “What is unique about current global climate change is the role of human behavior,” said task force chair Janet Swim, PhD, of Pennsylvania State University. “We must look at the reasons people are not acting in order to understand how to get people to act.”
APA’s Task Force on the Interface Between Psychology and Global Climate Change examined decades of psychological research and practice that have been specifically applied and tested in the arena of climate change, such as environmental and conservation psychology and research on natural and technological disasters.... (Click title for more)
This is a story about bad timing.
One of the most disturbing ways that climate change is already playing out is through what ecologists call “mismatch” or “mistiming.” This is the process whereby warming causes animals to fall out of step with a critical food source, particularly at breeding times, when a failure to find enough food can lead to rapid population losses.
The migration patterns of many songbird species, for instance, have evolved over millennia so that eggs hatch precisely when food sources such as caterpillars are at their most abundant, providing parents with ample nourishment for their hungry young. But because spring now often arrives early, the caterpillars are hatching earlier too, which means...(Click title for more)
Currently 100 billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year — almost one bag per person each day. Laid end-to-end, they could circle the equator 1,330 times. But this number will soon fall as more communities, including large cities like New York and Chicago, look for ways to reduce the plastic litter that blights landscapes and clogs up sewers and streams.
While now ubiquitous, the plastic bag has a relatively short history. Invented in Sweden in 1962, the single-use plastic shopping bag was first popularized by Mobil Oil in the 1970s in an attempt to increase its market for polyethylene, a fossil-fuel-derived compound.
Many American customers disliked the plastic bag when it was introduced in 1976, disgusted by the checkout clerks having to lick their fingers when pulling the bags from the rack and infuriated when a bag full of groceries would break or spill over. But retailers continued to push for plastic because it was cheaper and took up less space than paper... (Click title for more)
95% of the entire fresh produce range sold by Asda is already at risk fromclimate change, according to a groundbreaking study by the supermarket giant. The report, which will be published in June, is the first attempt by a food retailer to put hard figures against the impacts global warming will have on the food it buys from across the world.
Asda, which is owned by Walmart, brought in consultants PwC to map its entire global fresh produce supply chain against the models being used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The only produce that would remain unaffected by a rise in temperatures would be those with easily moved production, like fresh herbs.
Brown said the results show that it is imperative that supermarkets start to think strategically about how to cope with the impacts of rising emissions...(Click title for more)