“The necessary first step is to avoid denial.”
As you are pointing out, most of the simple denial/minimizing/projection happens between the ears. There is, to some extent, a gap between us, humans, and the environment we live in. As if we are cut off from the planet.
In my article “Climate Change Makeover: Expanding Our Conscious Horizons”, I delve deeper into the psychological basis of this denial and argue that restoring an ecological awareness is part of a first step to do away with denialism. Then, finally, more people will “see” the planet and start acting responsibly (for themselves).