Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

George Marshall. Bloomsbury, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-62040-133-0
“Why do the victims of flooding, drought, and severe storms become less willing to talk about climate change or even accept that it is real?” Environmentalist Marshall, founder of the Climate Outreach and Information Network, explores this and a host of other questions in an alternately enlightening, yet labored examination of the reasons people have difficulty accepting climate change, even when presented with mountains of evidence. He draws heavily upon interviews with scientists and policy makers, as well as with individuals who have faced the ravages of severe flood or drought, offering several reasons why we have a hard time accepting the reality of climate change. For one, we often believe what we want to believe: “if you are already inclined... to see climate change as dangerous, then it looks really dangerous. If you are not inclined that way, then it looks exaggerated.” Moreover, climate change is generally framed as a finite challenge that can be resolved or overcome, like winning a military victory. Marshall concludes by pointing out that multiple interpretations of climate change contain the central reason we can ignore it: “these constructed narratives become so culturally specific that people who do not identify with [the narrative’s underlying] values can reject the issue they explain.” (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
Release date: 08/19/2014
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Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-63286-102-3
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