Three phases of climate acceptance
Stop asking if people believe the climate science. Belief is for religion. This is science, this is observable fact. The question is, Do they accept it?
There are three phases to climate change acceptance.
DENIAL: Geez, it can’t possibly be this bad, can it? It’s hard to accept that we’ve all been party to a horrendous mistake, a system that feeds our needs at the expense of the planet and future generations. People who didn’t vote for Al Gore have another hurdle: identity. If he believes it, then I don’t. But more and more evidence chips away at denial: bizarre weather, conversations your kids bring home, even some of your favored politicians talking about it.
DESPAIR: Holy cow, this is way worse than I can process. It seems hopeless. There’s nothing I can do that would make a difference until They (whoever they are) do something. I know the science but it hurts too much to watch programs like Planet Earth because they drive me deeper into despair.
DOING: Dabnabbit, I’m going to pick myself up by my bootstraps and DO SOMETHING! I can’t be party to sitting by and just observe. I may not be able to stop it myself but I can be part of a worldwide movement to slow it and eventually reverse it. Since humans have caused this, we can fix it. We are the people to do this work; we can’t leave it for future generations. This gives me an entirely new purpose.
Doing is the antidote to despair.
There’s a parable about the three masons. A traveler comes upon them working and asks what they are doing. One says he’s cutting stone, another says he’s earning money to feed his family. The third says he’s building a cathedral. He knew he would not see the work completed but it gave him a deep sense of meaning to know he was part of a multi-generational project to honor his god.
We are laying the foundation for a sustainable society.
For more about how to handle the emotional stress associated with climate fear, read this article.