Climate change is–to say the least–a sobering prospect. An uninhabitable planet, out-of-control natural disasters, less water, less food…it’s not a pretty picture.
If you’re a climate activist, you are constantly facing the real prospect of this terrifying future. Most environmentalists get caught up in the doom, the gloom, and the urgency. But what we have to remember is that not everyone feels this sense of urgency.
If we go around enveloped in this constant state of urgency, we can’t relate to those who don’t yet feel this idea.
But why don’t more people feel this urgency? Here is one of my hypotheses: Human nature is geared towards short-term thinking and short-term interests. But my generation is the 1st generation required to defy human nature and act for the long-term interest.
Environmentalists get caught up in fear and urgency of climate change because this prospect is so antithetical to human thought and societal norms. There is no normal response. Being overwhelmed is a natural reaction.
The problem is that many environmentalists cannot separate the urgency and fear from the need to operate in current paradigms–paradigms where others do not yet have the long-term vision. Plus, it’s intimidating for someone who doesn’t feel the urgency to be talking with someone who is freaking out about climate change.
Yes, a sense of urgency is necessary because action is needed NOW. Or even yesterday. But conveying the urgency to other requires a different approach, understanding that not everyone is consumed by the prospect of climate change.
This is the challenge. In the past people have been able to get away with short term thinking. But not anymore!