What we think about

April 12, 2017

I really liked this because it goes through all of the reasons, mostly on a psychological level, why some people don’t believe in or care about global warming which is something that I never fully understood.

The idea of ‘self interest’ is something we’ve talked about in other classes, and I’ve sort of thought about it in regards to this, but never from an evolutionary point of view. I think it also comes from a place of privilege since we don’t live somewhere that has been strongly or quickly affected by climate change.  I also agree with their statement that we could use this for the common good if the identity of ‘us’ was changed.

The Roots of Denial chapter was about something that really pains me, the rejection of facts that are obvious to me, and this chapter does a good job of explaining why people get stuck in denial once they’ve decided that that’s their stance, but I still have a hard time following the reasoning for denying it in the first place.

The GEVA graph was interesting and hopeful. However I’m interested in seeing how these next few years go with the change in politics.

There was a new carbon cycle found in polar glaciers that could be contributing more to climate change that previously thought https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170412105910.htm


The Espen Book

April 12, 2017

Book: coming soon….

Current Event: Anti current event: in 1951 a man landed a ski plane on the summit of Mount Rainier, 14,410 feet high. When he tried to restart his plane, it was broken. He had to slide the plane downhill until he hit a ramp and glided to safety in Seattle. After he landed he went to court for breaking a lot of laws including landing a plane unlawfully in a national park, and was fined $350 ($3300 in today’s dollars).. a very bold strategy

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/the-wild-survival-story-about-air-force-pilot-who-got-his-plane-stuck-atop-mount-rainier-in-stunt/


Global Warming…

April 12, 2017

Since this is the book I’ll be presenting with Maggie I’ll keep my blog short. I read the second half and actually really enjoyed Part 2. The author tells a lot of stories, gives a lot of examples and really paints a vivid picture of what he is trying to say.  However, I didn’t enjoy reading Part 3, it was to philosophical for my liking. And so many analogies that I would forget his argument. Part 2 had a lot more stuff about global waring and so did Part 3 it was just expressed very differently. In class I’ll be going over my favorite chapters more in depth.

Current Event :  Ooho!!         Unknown.jpeg

An ‘edible water bottle’ that hopes to replace the millions of plastic bottles thrown away every year has raised over £500,000 in a crowdfunding campaign.

The water ball, named “Ooho!” is a biodegradable and natural membrane which can be fully swallowed and digested, as well as hydrating people in the same way as drinking water.

The product is made from a seaweed extract and is tasteless, although flavours can be added to it.


Reading and Current Event

April 12, 2017

North America’s freshwater lakes are getting saltier

Freshwater lakes in North America are getting saltier due to development and exposure to road salt. 371 lakes were studied and publish in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences that lakes in the midwest and northeast are experiencing increasing chloride trends with 44% of them undergoing long-term salinization.

The team of researcher are a part of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network. The Lead author Hilary Dugan explained,

“We compiled long-term data, and compared chloride concentrations in North American lakes and reservoirs to climate and land use patterns, with the goal of revealing whether, how, and why salinization is changing across broad geographic scales. The picture is sobering. For lakes, small amounts of shoreline development translate into big salinization risks.”

Each lake studied was larger than 4 hectares and had at least 10 years of recorded chloride data. The use of road salt has been escalating since the 1940s. Each year about 23 million metric tons of sodium-chloride bases deicer is applied to the roads. This road salt washes into nearby bodies of water. Results showed that roads and other impervious surfaces within 500 meters of a lake’s shoreline were strong predictors of elevated chloride concentrations. If current salinization trends continue, many North American lakes with EPA-recommended chloride levels in 50 years.

The chloride levels have have been shown to alter the composition of fish, invertebrates, and the plankton that form the base of the aquatic food web. Species abundance and richness can decline.

Book

Chp.1

The question: whether human-made global warming is happening- science question that is NOT in the book

 

  • How people respond to such messages-book

 

  • Give people facts, see if they change their behavior..doesn’t work often…..actually conventional climate communications have triggered more distancing
  • Figures on pg 4 and 5. U.S concern has declined since 1989…Norway has a stronger decline…oil rich country
  • Concern about climate ranked highest for public in developing countries. Why?
  • We feel  that disaster, damage,doom are uncomfortable to live with, so we deprioritize the issue
  • Some people label climate change as natural, “it’s always changing”
  • Humans act paradoxically. Double standards are rule. We know we’ve done something irreversible….but we do it because it’s how we’ve grown up and that’s the most convenient way

Chp. 2

  • Skeptic attitude is essential to the scientific process. A good climate scientist is critical and skeptical about their work.
  • Use the phrase “beyond reasonable doubt”
  • Scientists critical about results and question assumptions. Science is a systematized skepticism. In science being a skeptic is a positive label. However in the media skepticism is bad. Page 11 labeled skeptics
  • Difference between putting forth a point of critical view, honestly held and well argued, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion in an angry rant because one feels affronted by scientific results/mock or discredit
  • Denial-protects our ego, our “I” against threats
  • This mechanism kicks in to avoid feelings of anxiety, fear, or hostility.
  • Active denial- knowledge of facts to a certain degree, but they are refuted and refused since they don’t fit with your values- personal, political, etc.
  • Passive denial-more on unresponsive side- you may know climate change exists, but prefer not to care much about it. Use sarcasm and irony to fend off subject. Fear or learned helplessness keeps you from acting and reaction “There’s nothing I can do about it!” that’s how I feel. Anyone else feel that way? Later in book he talks about individualism
  • Individual versus cultural denial. Going against the “status quo” of your culture. Can reversing cultural and psychological climate denial be thought of as a cultural transition on par with the transformations that led to the abolishment of slavery or apartheid?
  • What levels is denial holding us back? Internationally little happens… countries choose to compete and disagree rather than cooperate. Narrow self-interested point of view
  • Most governments see their primary task as maximizing wealth and welfare of their own citizens. Ex: higher carbon tax….if one country set higher carbon tax they would fear a loss of competitiveness and industry. Executives believe their primary job is maximizing profits by focusing on core competency and core businesses. Reducing emissions often means increasing upfront investments and operational costs in order to cut costs that will accrue years into the future.
  • Like mentioned before, strong social norms support the status quo

Chp.3

  • Talks about online ads for gender. Five ancestral forces: self-interest, status, social imitation, short-termism, and risk vividness. Old mind shapes modern behaviors
  • Easter Island, move statues, competing for status for the men on island. Deforested to move statues. Almost whole forest deforested. Illustrates evolutionary forces in us if unchecked by culture and good governance creates havoc, human tendencies toward self-interest,status, and imitation of others may turn self destructive.
  • Humans are incapable of caring for the more-than-human. Our competitive old mind will drive us to collapse. Do you believe that?
  • Self-interest: people make short-term choices in social dilemmas, with strangers as opponents. Culture may shape the biological short-term self-interest to serve community for the longer term. “It’s not hitting my family or pack or group.”Climate change is perceived as happening elsewhere. Islands, up North, etc.
  • Flock Status: the status is relative. It’s about having prettier things and more than others. Winning in relative status feels more urgent in the human brain than the long-term threats of climate change
  • How can we have people compete for “green status”, and ideas/experience?
  • Imitation: Evolutionary psychology highlights that imitating others is efficient. “Network effect or herd behavior”People don’t behave more environmentally because people cannot see or feel convinced that may others are doing it.
  • Short-term thinking: want satisfaction now. We were hunter-gatherers before farmers. Hunters get their reward usually the day of the labor. Natural selection shaped psychobiology to benefit here and now. We weigh present outcomes as much more important than distant ones. Climate change is in the distance, at least the physical/visual effects.
  • Disregard problems we cannot see or feel

 

Chp.4  

  • Cognition- how we actually think and how the brain processes info.
  • Facts on page 35 and 36…how do u feel about them…do they make you alarmed or make you yawn?
  • And the graphs on pages 37 and 38.
  • When people here climate change they think of weather and temperatures. The slow-moving climate change appears distant to people.
  • Feels distant in time (2050 and beyond), distant in space (antarctica, arctic), invisible (CO2). Cannot Be seen, touched, or felt. The combined outcome makes us feel helpless, even if we stopped now its delayed effects will continue to trouble us. That’s how i feel, helpless, motivation to try to become green feels pointless. Pg. 41 example of how climate change was brought to people’s doorstep
  • Come to climate risk perception: people are prone to exaggerate risks that are spectacular, new and unfamiliar, personified beyond personal control, much discussed, immediate, and sudden as well as those that affect them personally and are imposed by a clear enemy.
  • Framing (right way to frame discussion of climate change)- global warming is more engaging frame than climate change. Indicates phenomenon is happening
  • Pg.48 ozone hole successful frame
  • Backfiring frames: climate action is costly. We hate losses much more than we enjoy gains. We’ll lose too much. Is that selfish?
  • When we become aware of how perception, risk, and framing together influence the mind, we can start crafting solutions

 

Chp.5

  • Modern cultures strongly individualistic bias.
  • Hawthorne effect, workers, lighting, The extra attention from management is what helped increase the productivity of workers. In the presence of others, behavior, attention, and performance is changed. Social attention is a powerful motivator.
  • Have others present in the back of their minds. Care what others will think of them
  • Does that hold you guys back at all with going green, caring what others think?
  • Page 58 and 59 shows social attitudes on climate change. Which one are you?
  • Dissonance- action and knowledge are at odds and generate type of discomfort. Example: I have a large carbon footprint, CO2 leads to global warming. They conflict with positive self-image , creates discomfort, making us not want to think about it. I somewhat feel this way.
  • Attitudes also link us to other people, our friends, family,etc.
  • Two really good friends, have opposing thoughts, may become difficult to remain friends with them. People try to align their attitudes with their friends’ attitudes. Our climate attitudes are doubly embedded, both internally (affect, behavior, and cognition) and externally (social relations).  

Chp.6

  • We all work and live based on the fossil energy that fuels our society. When climate change is blamed on fossil fuels these workers feel the need to defend their identity and lifestyle against the message.
  • Cultural identity helps determine what passes as fact and risk, and how changes in self and identity might happen.
  • Confirmation bias: we automatically look for information that confirms we already think, want, feel. Ex: is roger friendly? We start scanning for friendly memories of Roger
  • Sometimes leads us to avoid or shrug off information that would require us to change our own beliefs and behavior
  • Psychotherapy- study of the processes of personal growth and identity transformation.
  • Resistance- use instead of denial, less accusatory and more inclusive word. If we let resistance develop, leads to unpleasant facts stow away in some concealed part of the mind.
  • What is needed: work of a cultural movement similar to the ones that dismantled apartheid, abolishes slavery, etc. One day will be a shared reality. Do you agree, will this work?

Chp. 7

  • Climate facts are doom-laden, fear-mongering, guilt-inducing. We’re clever at guarding ourselves against messages that we don’t really want to hear. I agree
  • The more facts, the less concern
  • 5 main defense barriers: Distance, Doom, Dissonance, Denial, iDentity. Page83
  • Do you agree with all of these? If not why
  • Knowing what the barriers are, though, and deciding what to do about them are two different things. The combined effect of the five D’s guarantees failure. Better to escape defenses than attack them outright.
  • People have to want to live in a climate-friendly society because they see it as better not because they get scared or instructed into it.

Chp. 8

  • We can’t opt out of the techno-economic system. Either fully embracing the machine or fully rejecting it. We are forced into continuous dissonance by the pain of knowing about the machine’s violence even as we live with it.
  • We think we can only get better one by one. We feel guilt when we can’t be self-sufficient, live off-grid, etc.
  • Individualistic psychotherapy and the state of the world is clearly getting worse.
  • Small acts like reusing plastic bags, not that effective. However, it can act as a catalyst for other, more impactful activities.
  • Individualized perceptions generate resentment. “I don’t like being shamed”. “Why bother, F**k it”
  • New climate strategies on 3 principles. Page 90
  • Positive strategies: caring for the air ought to go along with celebrating life itself- saying yes to beauty.
  • Rather than taking on guilt, we just need more and more of us consumers to keep shifting gradually toward buying greener products.
  • Large-scale systematic changes only come about when enough minds have changed.
  • 5 new Strategies on page 93. Do you think this works?
  • Shift from sole reliance on the old communication model toward a broader, interactive, many-to-many communication model that includes practical engagement

Chp.9

  • Conventional climate info. Has targeted the individual mind. Pg.95 example: hotel towels. Imitation concept
  • Imitation effect…anyone have experience with it?
  • Example: parks and littering
  • People adjust their behavior to fit the signals sent by their physical surroundings about what a neighborhood finds acceptable.
  • Positive messages reinforce positive social norms.
  • Page 98 Groups, people more committed to greatest energy reduction were the people comparing themselves with their neighbors.
  • Model our best behaviors
  • Social norms: telling your own personal story to people you care about. Effective climate message
  • Pg.101. Ask people if they are aware of the agreement among scientists that global warming is real and urgent.
  • Messenger? Credible spokespeople for an idea, people who are similar to those you want to reach out to, part of their in-group
  • Pg.108 table Social Networks

Post #11 A NEW PSYCHOLOGY OF CLIMATE ACTION

April 12, 2017

WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHEN WE TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING: TOWARD A NEW PSYCHOLOGY OF CLIMATE ACTION 

I thought Stoknes did a great job examining how people think about the climate in his book. He did a great job presenting this information in his book by breaking it up into the parts: ‘Thinking: Understanding the Climate Paradox,’ ‘Doing: If It Doesn’t Work, Do Something Else,’ and ‘Being: Inside the Living Air. I really enjoyed how he knew exactly what people were thinking and their reasons for such a hands off attitude toward the climate around them. Going back to Professor Krygier’s email earlier this week, it was interesting to put myself in the issues Stoknes raised. What was even more entertaining to me, is when Stoknes talked about people and their denial toward the climate. This literally made me laugh because the President of the USA was quoted saying, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”. This was the exact point that Stoknes was talking about when he said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to decide upon and make up their own scientific facts”. This book left me with a better sense of how people view the climate, as well as the actions these people take to either help it or separate themselves from the issue all together.

Current Event: Rotating Homes Are Taking Solar Power To The Next Level

-Casa em Movimento (House in Motion) is a Portuguese company that has designed rotating solar-powered houses that follow the sun. The concept of rotating the house with the sun, was inspired by the way sunflowers move with the sun from east to west during daylight, and back to the east overnight. The way it works, is that the homes are pre-programmed to move, which enables the homes to generate a great deal of energy with the sun power they collect. The houses rotate 180 degrees, and the roofing hoods pivot 90 degrees. This all means that the energy generated from the rotation is 25,000 kWh per year. To put that in perspective, a normal house of the same size uses just 5,000 kWh each year. This is all done by only using the energy comparable to six 60-watt light bulbs lit for an hour. Rotating homes have not yet hit mainstream, but these innovative houses show the kind of high-tech sustainable architecture the world can look forward to in decades to come.

 

Image result for solar rotating houses

 


Global Warming Notes

April 12, 2017

29: From a biological perspective, success of an individual is measured in terms of fitness. Stoknes brings up how, from an evolutionary perspective, self interest in terms of producing offspring leads to making short-term choices that affect family. I think you could also flip that around and try to have people think about long-term effects, since it would maximize an individual’s fitness if future generations were taken care of.

The way I understood one of the major problems with addressing climate change was that it seems to be connected to procrastination on a large scale; we tend to focus on alleviating more tangible and immediate worries and completing tasks that give us instant gratification before shifting our focus to seemingly far away problems.

35: Here is where to find more NOAA annual climate facts and some interesting environmental news.

67: I never really considered whether our behaviors shape our attitudes or our attitudes shape our behaviors until reading this section. I could connect with this section by considering how I haven’t eaten meat since reading Eating Animals; my past behavior determined my eating choices and attitudes until the motives of my past behavior were questioned, and deciding to fully commit to a lifestyle change like that requires recognizing perceived flaws in past behavior, which are hard to confront.

77-79: Stoknes makes a good point that “We cannot be conscious about every aspect of our lives” (79), which relates to the Ted Talk “How Healthy Living Nearly Killed Me“.

Is denial and self-deception part of what differentiates animals and humans?

91: Do we have a duty to be social citizens? Sometimes those pushes in change in personal behavior that Stoken talks about aren’t necessarily seen as “main solutions” but rather as morals. At that point, it might become overwhelming to live by one’s morals and still have energy left over to be vocal about social change. This goes back to the idea that we cannot be conscious about every aspect of our lives; it is a lot to take on to be conscious about every aspect of others’ lives at the same time.

99-103: I think Stoknes does a good job in this sections of giving readers realistic ways of how to enter the climate conversation and engage the public. Stoknes uses a simple application of ethos (find a credible spokesperson), pathos (spread your personal story, develop a sense of power through community) and logos (make people aware about the consensus that global warming is real) to form an effective climate message. He also gives fun examples of public engagement that can be used to reach people who don’t really respond to facts presented by laboratory scientists.

131: Stoknes gives some interesting examples of green nudges. What are some examples used on our campus?

142: I appreciated how Stoknes addresses stewardship associated with Christianity rather than focusing on the dominion viewpoint like many of the previous readings have!

161: Here is an interesting article that explains how to actually estimate an index of biodiversity and talks about the implementation of the Nature Index in Norway.

185-189: The whole third part of this book was unexpected, for me. I didn’t realize how common despair over environmental change is, and I liked that Stoknes pointed out that it’s important to acknowledge the grief rather than make it something that should not be discussed publicly.

204-215: The more spiritual/ philosophical elements of part three were also unexpected, but refreshing since modern views have caused a shift from valuing emotions to valuing scientific knowledge. I think it’s easier to be passionate about issues that I feel personally connected with, and viewing the air as this “…sacred, intelligently creative being” (210) that is in a continuum with humans is an interesting way to foster that sense of connection. I also like how Stoknes offers the perspective that creation wasn’t just a onetime event. The world is being continuously created: “We’re co-creating the world in any now” (214). Stoknes thinks humans will lose “…something central and powerful – a sense of the sacred that can be critical for motivating us in the highly needed transformation, that makes climate into something very near, no longer distant, abstract, technical, chemical.” (215) In the Interfaith house we often discuss how spirituality, for some of our house members, is very much a sense of feeling connected to Earth. Since many people aren’t responding to strict scientific facts, it might be interesting to see if this idea of connection changes their viewpoints.

219: Are you an optimist, pessimist, realist or something in between, and how does this affect your attitude toward climate change? I found it hard to relate to passive and active skepticism because to me, the passive skepticism he described is in itself optimistic since you are believing that a challenge will be overcome no matter what, and the active skeptic who goes after something even when there seems to be no hope seems like it requires optimism. I view myself as an optimist, but not really in the sense that Stoknes defined optimists as people believing that by putting effort in good will come out or that good will just happen. I don’t think optimism is something you “cling” to; for me, it’s more about trust and faith (which are grounded things) and finding the good that comes from bad situations, even if the only good thing is that you made it through a challenge.

 


What We Think About

April 12, 2017

States of Denial (15)

Stoknes presents some quotes that illustrate denial from members of our House of Representatives. He goes on to say, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to decide upon and make up their own scientific facts. You may be free to state that you don’t like some scientific results. But not to twist or label ‘junk’ or ‘pseudo-science’ those you don’t like. Nor to communicate cherry-picked subsets of facts in any way that pleases you” (16). This point resonated with me because it describes spot on what so many people do (not even just for climate science, but for many other disciplines of work). These people are not providing critique or contra arguments (which are, in fact, a necessary part in any scientific field), but instead appear to discredit the other side by means of sarcasm, mockery, and the manner and style of speaking.

When it comes to the term ‘denial’, I think many people (myself included) forget that this is not just a meaningless word thrown around to arbitrarily label people whose views don’t match with our own. ‘Denial’ is an actual psychological concept that you can learn about in any intro psych class in any university. It’s a real thing. I think that people who actually fall under the category of ‘deniers’ often fail to recognize that they are actually denying whatever it is that they oppose. Stoknes says “denial is lying so hard you actually come to believe in your own lie” (16). They truly believe that their logic is sound and take the world ‘denier’ as an insult.

Having a conversation with a denier is frustrating at best, particularly when you recognize the tactics they use such as conspiracies, fake experts, selectivity, fake analogies and logical fallacies, and impossible expectations. One can scroll the feed of any social media and easily pick out the deniers who just can’t seem to be reasoned with. It’s disheartening to those who are passionate about their field.

Climate Attitudes: Alarmed, Concerned, or Dismissive (57)

This section ties well with ‘States of Denial’. He discusses the three components that make up a person’s attitude, namely an affective, behavioral, and cognitive. These translate to our emotion and feeling connected to something, what kind of action we take toward it, and what thoughts, knowledge, and beliefs come up from memory when attending to the issue. An attitude is strong and consistent if all three components are aligned. Furthermore, attitudes can be learned or adopted fast, but once learned it is difficult to change it on our own. This makes it difficult to persuade a denier that there are other viable perspectives to an issue. Take climate change as an example: scientists have increasingly tapped into the cognitive component of people’s attitudes, but have done little to target the other two. To address this, the media booms with pictures that are the result of climate change—skinny polar bears, climate refugees, etc. However, our culture has become numb to these pictures over the years. Stoknes suggests that in addition to our lack of attention toward the images, the message being transferred with them is subconsciously being heard as an accusation: not only is the human influence on the climate system too high, but our western culture in particular is at fault (60). Even though that may be correct factually, there is a condemnatory tone in climate communication that creates strong associations with fear and guilt, indirectly underscoring that we should feel bad about the way we live—hence the birth of climate deniers—because the underlying message is shaming.


 

Scientists Fear Climate Data Gap as Trump Aims at Satellites

The Trump administration released a budget blueprint last month and one section in particular is concerning climate researchers. This section proposed eliminating four of NASA’s climate science missions, including instruments to study clouds, small airborne particles, the flow of CO2, and other elements of the atmosphere and oceans.

In the past, NASA has built and operated climate satellites and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has operated weather satellites. While there is some overlap, weather satellites focus on basics like clouds, winds, temperatures and moisture to provide information for forecasts. Most of NASA’s instruments are designed to provide long-term records of phenomena like ice-sheet thickness, sea-level rise, vegetation changes and the makeup of the atmosphere.

After a scare at the beginning of this decade when it looked like NOAA might have no functioning weather satellites for a time — a potentially disastrous situation — the agency now has plans and funding to replace its satellites as required. But there are currently few plans to replace NASA’s instruments, many of which are at or near the end of their useful lives.

Climate monitoring has fallen into a gap between the agencies. The priority has been on gathering weather data because we understand the value of weather data. That priority is reflected in the proposed Trump budget, which eliminates the NASA missions while also calling for full funding of NOAA’s replacement orbiters.

Long before President Trump was elected, climate researchers warned that the nation’s climate monitoring capabilities — which include satellites as well as air- and surface-based instruments — were less than adequate and faced data collection gaps and other uncertainties. Continuous data records are crucial to climate researchers to improve their models to better understand how the climate is changing. Elimination of any of the missions would be a further blow.

To learn more about NASA’s climate satellites, click here!