Power of an Individual and Overcoming Apocalypse Fatigue
Clearly, we are heading for uninhabitable earth with the record-breaking temperatures already cooking each of us in the blazing sun. The level of carbon dioxide has already skyrocketed and surpassed the average trend line that can be witnessed in the graph above. The global temperature peaked during 2016 making it the warmest year on the record. Not only did it increase the overall temperature, but it really boiled the entire earth through warming of oceans. In addition to this, the rate of Antarctica ice loss tripled in the last decade according to NASA. These issues according to the experts are the result of human activities during the last 50 years. Greenhouse gases releasing into the atmosphere along with the human activities to clear out the agricultural land for the industrial purpose have caused this wonderful planet to boil up. Thus, it is we the humans responsible for these devastating effects resulting from climate change and you cannot even imagine the several other problems resulting from this. Events such as flooding, destructive storms, land sliding, extreme heatwaves can lead to what is known as “apocalypse fatigue” in which even a concerning person may start avoiding this matter. While these issues are really freaking out the climate scientist, it is also us who must start pondering upon this right from today.
I was recently listening to the TED talk linked above where the scientist mentioned the way to engage people in solving global warming. This I think is important to address as we must start taking actions now if not, we will soon live in a boiling earth.
Inner Defenses: 5 Psychological barriers
We as a human think that the issue is far away from us and why must we bother to look into this when we are not affected. The impacts of melting glaciers, rising sea level are far off in time. As an example, when we hear the news saying Antarctica losing ice at an increasing rate, we tend to ignore this by giving the reason that this is remote and far away from us.
Fear is something that makes people avoid these issues. With the events resulting from climate change such as floods, landslide etc that we hear on a daily basis create fear in our mind leading to ignorance.
This is the conflicting behavior and disagreement within ourselves. We only love to hear what makes us feel comfortable, and not something which conflicts with our defense mechanism. For example, when you know fuels which your car consumes contribute to global warming, your mind will start seeking different excuses.
This is the case where we ignore the overall issue because we don’t want to land up in stress, fear, and anxiety.
We tend to ignore something which conflicts our cultural identity and core values. Many individuals think that it not their responsibility to act on climate change, but rather the responsibility of policymakers to deal with the climate. Also, take the example where an individual holding the conservative values will ignore the liberals talking about climate change.
These five D’s are real barriers in blocking us from taking actions with regards to climate change.
We can, however, convert these 5 Ds into 5 S to overcome these defenses. It all starts with us who must start taking action to save this world from the devastating effects of Global Warming. Try understanding the power of one individual in creating positive change around this world.
5 S to overcome 5 Ds
“Flip distance to Social”
Use the power of Social Network and other tools to overcome the problem of distance. Its all about the power of peer to peer.
Motivate others to:
- Recycle items
- Reduce energy consumption by only using electricity when needed.
- Use environment-friendly products and avoid using plastic bags.
- Install and use solar energy in their homes and offices.
Make all efforts to encourage your colleagues take the step to save this earth.
“Reframe Doom to Supportive”
We can reframe doom to supportive by making individuals feel the importance of health with regards to climate.
- Health and Quality of Life resulting from the environment
- New opportunities for businesses such as investing in sustainable development solutions
- For a good cause
These efforts can really engage societies in taking actions in regards to climate change. Here, we have essentially converted doom into supportive.
“Put dissonance to simple actions”
Use simple measures to create a big change. For example:
- Make smaller plates in the restaurant buffet which will lead to lower consumption of food, thereby reducing the amount of greenhouse gas produced by the livestock industry. According to the speaker, it makes a big difference as on a smaller plate it looks full so the dissonance goes down.
- Solutions to avoid Food Waste
“Denial by tailoring signals”
Use apps like Ducky to log and track your actions there. This really will help us keep track of our positive actions and in making one feel successful about their positive actions. Ducky app is built around immediate feedbacks and results, in other words, it generates real engagement.
Climate Action Toolkit | Ducky
Sustained, meaningful action by individuals and organizations to reduce climate impacts every single day.
“Flip Identity with better stories”
Our brain loves stories. The stories we explain to people, community passes on values and builds a sense of commitment.
To summarize, we discussed 5 psychological barriers in dealing with climate change namely 5 Ds and how to overcome these barriers using 5 S. It is crucial to understand the power of one to create change in this world, and I hope you will start from today. Right now, in the era of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, each of us is working towards automation and industrial disruption. Have we ever thought about using AI to solve challenges the world faces and heading towards United Nations Goals? It is now the time for you to start pondering upon this.