It’s a bit hard to keep smiling isn’t it? I know I promised to keep it light around here, and I intend to stick to that promise, but everything is so dark at the moment it’s not easy. Ash and smoke has literally blotted out the sun in so many places. In others it has turned the world deep, blood red - the sort of thing Cormac McCarthy might have imagined for one of his post 911 apocalypse metaphors.
It is easy to despair. Easier still to anger.
My patience with climate change denial is at an end. It now simply enrages me. Even sitting in my pleasant cafe as I do on a Monday morning, I feel my brain heating with fury as I typed the words ‘climate change denial.’
And yet I have friends who are skeptics at best, if not actual deniers at worst. I’d Iike to maintain those friendships. I don’t know if it will be possible in the long term, but I suspect the only way might be through changing myself first.
Everything I’ve learned about human psychology tells me people will not change beliefs that are critical to their self image until their actual existence is threatened AND EVEN THEN they will fight to hold onto as much as they can.
Eventually, I suppose, I’ll have to decide whether I can have people like that in my life, but if I expect them to change I should first look at myself.
What could I be doing differently?
One thing, surprising to me when I realised it, was this. I am almost as ignorant of the science of climate change as any casual, lazy denier. I haven’t read the reports I’ve cited in columns. I don’t keep up to date with the latest findings. I scan the headlines, get angry, send a tweet.
So as a start I can at least educate myself. I can read the reports, or more likely the executive summaries because, lets face it, there have been millions of pages of reports and papers and findings published now.
That would be a start and it would make it easier to talk with people who—in good faith—can't bring themselves to accept the science of climate change for whatever reason. I would at least have something other than my anger to offer them.