Confession of an environmental planner – the 3 biggest lies of climate change

You’ve been lied to. We all have.

I’ve been working with environmental management since 2007’ish. Almost a decade now.

A lot has changed, thankfully. Though it might seem gloomy, we are making progress as a whole.

Throughout the years, however, there are key subjects that keep resurfacing in my work with climate change communication.

There are lies that echo in communities working with climate change. Again, and again.

Writing, late one night, I felt I was suffocating. I felt like the untold truths about how we approached climate change, were clawing at me like a wild beast, and that my only escape was to talk about them honestly.

The following is a confession, and an explanation as to why we continue these lies. I hope it’s also the first step to breaking the cycle.

The 1st lie – We know about all of the dangers of climate change

We don’t. No one has the right answer. We like to believe, that the dangers of climate change have been mapped our by scientist, and if we simply follow their advice, we’ll pull through.

But scientists do not have the complete answer, because the climate on this little globe, is far more complex and delicate than we imagined.
It seems almost every week a new climate record is broken. Warmest month in recorded history, most severe drought, strongest hurricane, etc.

Scientists are continuously altering their models and climate predictions because the effects of climate change are happening faster than anyone anticipated.

Why do we keep insisting that the consequences of global climate change are known?

Short answer: The truth is fucking scary.

We are facing a monster, and we don’t even know how big or how dangerous it is. Worse, we don’t want to know, that we don’t know.

Our brainsLies climate change confession substitution , though capable of dreaming up books and symphonies, does not cope well with uncertainty. Dealing with uncertainty requires a lot of energy.

Hence, when a big, scary uncertainty shows up, we tend to either simplify it to something we can deal with, or reject the idea altogether.

So our brain switches to autopilot and tells us not to listen.

Furthermore, scientists are reluctant to stand up and say they are 100% certain because that’s not the scientific way. There is almost always a small margin of error.

In itself, this is not a problem, but people are built to avoid uncertainties. We hate it. It forces our energy demanding part of the brain to activate, which is a drag. Your brain likes energy conservation. That’s why sitting on the couch feels nicer than going for a run, even though you know running is better for you.

‘You fancy scientist don’t know S***t’

Let’s say we are faced with two people. They are in a debate. The first one of them starts saying, ‘There is a lot of statistical evidence supporting this theory, and only a small margin of error, which can be accounted for in the regression of…’ zzzzz…

You’ve stopped paying attention, haven’t you? That’s because your brain had to work. Let’s look at the other person in the debate and hear his argument:

‘You’re not even sure of what you’re saying! You only have a theory, you don’t have proof. It could be a lot of other things. It could be a natural fluctuation. Why should I get worried if this is nothing? You scientist, all high and mighty, always think you know things, but then 5 years later you turn out to be wrong so why should I trust you?’

Science_monajensen

It’s a natural instinct to not trust scientist – unfortunately, it’s a really bad instinct

Sound familiar? The brain prefers confidence over doubt, and science seems like doubt if you don’t work in science.

Theories, uncertainties, and margins aren’t things our brain want to deal with. So unless we put energy into understanding what climate change is, we are likely to disregard it.

And we have seen many people disregard it. It’s just easier. The cognitive energy we have to apply to both understanding climate change and reacting to it is overwhelming for many people.

It’s easier to accept that it isn’t happening … for some people at least.

The 2nd lie – Do it for the children

We’re not doing it for the children. We shouldn’t be. We should be doing it for ourselves.

The effects of climate change are happening as we speak. It’s not going to be something we will see 50 or 100 years from now. We are in it. Droughts, melting glaciers, coral bleaching, floods, storms.

You’ve seen the news, you know we’re already experiencing the first of the effects. We are consuming far more natural resources than the globe is producing, and we cannot sustain the current population growth and resource demand.

We are running out of things to make more things.

Even if we combat climate change, we’re still going to end up with a scarcity problem unless we address our global overconsumption.

It’s easy to say do it for the children because then you still sound like you care and want to make a wholehearted effort. Instead, saying that you are doing it for you, and for your future self, makes the problem more immediate and urgent. This scares the brain.

People don’t really give a damn about the children

If you think this is going to affect your great-grandchildren, then you’ve delayed the need for action because mentally, it’s much less energy-consuming to think of the problem in terms of future strangers. That’s what out distant relatives are to us, future strangers. We have difficulty relating to them.

How do you react when I tell you, that the people living at the time of Shakespeare had the same general thoughts, feelings and behavioral patterns as you?

You are not that different from the people living 500 years ago

You are not that different from the people living 500 years ago.

Your instinct is not to believe it. People from the past are less knowledgeable, right? They could not possibly be having the same thoughts or emotions, could they? They were less developed than you and I, right?

Nope. We have more technology now, and of course, we know more about the world, but our IQ and the way we interact with others is the same. But we can’t relate to people in the distant past or distant future.

We had no evolutionary need to, because either they would be dead, or we would.
And the same thing happens with our future relatives. We can’t relate. Their lives and problems have nothing to do with me -even if I am the source of their problems.

This is why we should stop doing it for the kids.

The 3rd lie – We can solve it

Climate change is not 1 problem that we need to address and there is no quick fix.

It’s all complex, intertwined, interconnected problems. One is making the other worse. You have to allocate time and energy to understand it, and the hard truth is the most brilliant minds in the world don’t have the full scope. It is of the utmost importance, to invest that time and energy into understanding the broader dimensions of the problem.

We need to take the time and energy to really learn about these intertwined issues. In order to unravel them and solve them.

Thinking long and hard.

Unfortunately, not many people do this. Time is a scares resource, and in our busy lives who takes the time and energy to really dig into a subject? As a consequence, the way to direct attention to the subject is:

‘3 simple ways to…’

‘Scared of climate change? Do these easy things to avoid…’

‘What to vote? 5 questions to ask yourself before next election.’

An English teacher had the brilliant idea to mask classic poems as click-bait. I think my favorite is, “5 Ways To Complicate Your Decision-Making Process” by Robert Frost.

Why do we do it? Substitution

For every complex problem there is a solution that is clear, simple, and wrong -H. L. Mencken

So instead we substitute the hard questions, and the tough subject, with easy ones. That way, we only receive answers that can be digested in 5 minutes or less.

This is also why we keep reading these clickbait articles.

Do these 10 things to make you happy!

This easy trick helped me lose 5 pounds in one week! And so on..

The comedian Jim Gaffigan put it nicely… ‘It’s all McDonald. It’s fast literary garbage with little nutrition and only serves you the purpose of feeling full, temporarily ending your craving, and avoiding starvation. It has little to no nutritional value.’

… and it makes me feel like a whore

I find myself using it. Not because I like it, not because I think it’s the right thing to do, but because I know it works. It’s something I can do to get your attention. And it makes me feel like a whore.

There are things about your immediate future that you need to be aware of if you want to enjoy your retirement. There are things you need to think about, and make choices about, and act on, even though it’s time-consuming, and requires energy.

This is your future, friend. You need to act on it

This is your future, friend. You need to act on it

You’ve done things like this before. You’ve taken out a mortgage, got an insurance, maybe even had a kid. You thought long and hard about your life and the consequences of certain actions.

Climate change is one of those things. It will affect you. Not your kids, not some distant stranger in the future. You.

 

Your money, your health, your comfort level in life, your retirement.

If you are still reading, you are more than halfway there. I congratulate you. For whatever reason, you have the willpower, and mental capability to do this.

Just like figuring out your retirement plan, it’s gonna feel complicated as hell, but I promise you,  you’re gonna get there.

This is where you start. Open your eyes, accept that this is scary ass hell, and then buckle up, cause we’ve got work to do.

Environmental preservation or preventing necrophile rapist ducks – know your audience

Yes, that’s an actual headline. The following post will involve necrophile rapist ducks. When you’ve read this post, you’ll know what you can do to make your target audience act more environmentally friendly, and how to use it in your work/daily life. And yes, there is a connection to rapist ducks. 

 

Did you ever feed ducks as a child? I did, with my grandparents mostly. It was a fine balance between getting close enough to get the duck to eat out of my hands while keeping a distance that ensured they would not eat me.

duck-feeding-monajensen

Duck feeding is, however, a horrible thing to do. It’s bad for the ducks, and bad for the environment. The only thing it’s good for is human emotions. It feels nice to feed the ducks. It’s cozy.

When you feed ducks they poop more, exposing the pond, or other water environments, to more nitrogen. The added nitrogen leads to algae bloom, which leads to hypoxia. Hypoxia is a fancy word for no-oxygen. When the water environment losses oxygen, the living organisms in it suffocate. Fish, shrimps, and other oxygen-dependent creatures. This means…

Feed the ducks, kill the fish.

election-613132_1920You would think that this information alone was enough to stop people from feeding ducks. Spoiler alert -it’s not.

We are emotional beings, and the above is a factual explanation. Facts often bend to emotions. Think about the last national election in your country, and I’m sure you can find an example or two, of politician swaying votes on emotion, instead of facts.

In the case of duck feeding, the feeding itself gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. It creates memories. It amplifies your own memories. And the ducks are happy, right, I mean just look at them. I’m sure one little loaf of bread won’t make a difference. All those environmental hippies are exaggerating.

We now have a Mexican standoff between, family values (warm fuzzy duck feeding), and environmental conservation. What now? Enter the necrophiliac rapist duck.

Male ducks are known to gang-rape female ducks. There is plenty of youtube material – I’m not going to link to it. When ducks are fed a diet of white bread, they become fat. So fat indeed, when they mate (or rape if you will) the male ducks can end up drowning the female. This means…

Feed the ducks, create necrophile rapist ducks!

In a bonus info about ducks, they don’t stop just because the female is now a “floater”. Ducks have been known to have necrophilia (and homosexual) tendencies. Here’s a scientific article about it  – you’re welcome.

Why am I telling you this awful news? Long story short, it was a subject at my workplace, and I decided to make an infographic about it: TADA!!!

(Article will continue after picture)

Feel free to download, or share.  Now to the actual point.

Know your audience

For decades environmental planners and activists have preached environmental preservation. But unfortunately, they were mostly preaching to the choir. I was an accomplice as well.

Save the pandas, the trees, the water, the whales… Think of the children and be a more responsible person.

Environmentalists have either argued the rational point:

If we keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, we’re going to suffer the consequences

…or the misplaced emotional point;

Do it for the children. Give them a world with polar bears.

Going back to the duck-feeding example, the above is a case of the first method of communication. A rational statement followed by a small emotional ‘Something bad will happen’. But that ‘something bad, doesn’t seem convincing enough to bend our habits.

It’s very easy to dismiss the information because it conflicts too much with ones one values: the family values. Remember, duck feeding is still a happy family activity that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling.

While the necrophilia information is still true, it targets those family values. You do not want your child or grandchild to witness a necrophilic gang rape. So you pay attention. This information feeds into your worldview and values.

 

Stop preaching to the choir!

Really, put effort into mapping out who your target group is. And if your target group is everybody you’ve already lost. It is very tempting for environmental planners to plan campaigns that work for everyone, this goes double if you are in a governmental department.

Your job is to fix everybody, and you often are not funded adequately. This is also a contributor to the status quo campaigns we’ve been seeing since the 80’s. You know them all too well:

Turn of the light, turn of the tab, recycle, walk more… The list goes on, and not just in the environmental areas (eat fruit, stop smoking, exercise 30 min each day).

The target group is everyone, and therefore the message is so placid, it applies to everybody and nobody at the same time – and it doesn’t work.

If you’re selling Nike shoes, you’re not advertising to all people with feet.

Big marketing doesn’t work in broad campaigns like that. Take Nike shoes. There’s a financial span, demographics, age –and the coolness factor. You find your target audience and go directly for them. Why should the principles be any different for campaigns regarding health or the environment?

Rotate your audience.

Here’s one solution, rotate your audience. Find your early adopters. Chances are, they already support you, so you don’t need to actively campaign for them. This is your choir, you don’t need to preach to them. But give them credit for their enthusiasm. This ensures that they keep fighting the good fight, and keep talking with their friends and relatives about your cause.

A campaign targeted towards early adaptors is basically giving them a high-five, saying you are awesome! This ensures their commitment to you and enhances their role as ambassadors.

After you’ve done that, then you can start looking at other target groups, like families, children, millennials, seniors, and different social groups.

Oh and lastly don’t just tell them what they should not do – give them directions towards a better behavior so you don’t leave them hanging with good intentions, but no knowledge of what to do.

What to do instead – you can still feed cute animals

Instead of feeding the ducks, you can try to identify the different species, and center you family activity around that. If you like the idea of feeding animals in need, feed butterflies or other pollinators like bees, as they contrary to ducks, desperately need it.

That’s all for now – please don’t encourage necrophilia duck rape.

 

-Keep beeing awesome (Badam-tsch!)

rapist-duck

 

You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth! -Climate change denial, and how to overcome it

In this post, we’re gonna focus on overcoming climate change denial. This means we’re gonna talk about why addressing climate change feel overwhelming, and what you can do about it.

Now we’ve established I’m a +30 cinephile, let’s dig deeper into the truth about climate change, and why we would rather not know.

Before you read further, ask yourself this: Are you willing to give this post a fair change?

 

When the content gets hard to deal with, are you gonna close the tab and go back to puppies and facebook, or are you gonna keep reading?

 

You might as well be honest with yourself because I’m going to be honest with you. More than that, I’m going to shed light on that little voice inside us all, that starts crying when it all gets too real and too overwhelming. The voice that says ‘It can’t be this bad. I’m sure they’ve got it wrong. I’ll go back to reddit now, and look at people who dress like Disney characters’.

If you’re still here you’re already further than most

The truth is we have a dire situation on our hands. Newest data suggests, that we have now surpassed the safe level of atmospheric CO2, averaging at 397.7 ppm in 2014, with a peak 404 ppm in the spring of 2014. The agreed safe level is 400 ppm.

If no drastic measures are taken NOW, we are facing a temperature increase of about 4.5 Degrees Celsius.

This will make many nations look like Water World by the year 2100.

It will also likely result in a big decrease in fish population in the oceans. In combination with our current overfishing, this might result in the death of the ocean. Yes death, as in no more fish in the sea, and hence no more sushi for your chopsticks.

 

If the world does not act in regards to climate change, we are facing droughts, famines, the greatest migration problem ever seen, deforestation, desertification. All in all, a world that sucks.

Overcoming Climate change denial - we're gonna die

See, I told you I was a cinephile


Why isn’t anybody acting?

You already knew that the world is in a bad state. None of the above was news to you, right? So, is there nothing left to do? Should we just give up? No, there are plenty of ways to act.

If we’ve been hearing these warnings for many years now, why are we still on collision-course?

Why are there still heads of state skeptical of climate change? What’s don’t the majority of Americans worry about climate change? And why on earth is the government of my home nation systematically cutting and worsening our climate initiatives?

A part of the problem is, we’ve created this big a complex world, but our hardware, our brain, is monkey_Brain_MonaJensenstill set on ‘monkey’.

The psychical structure and functions of our brains haven’t changed for thousands of years.

As an unfortunate consequence of this, we relate to the world around us as if we still only had to attend to food, shelter, and coitus.

Thinking about what our actions today will bring us 50 years down the road, is just not a natural process for us. Which means..:

 We have to work for it.

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of our brains system 1 and 2. Or the reptile- and the cognitive parts of our brain. In short, we have a lazy brain that wants to conserve energy. It does this, by not working too hard, and converting as many actions as it can, into habits we don’t need to think about – like walking.

You’re pretty skilled at walking. You don’t need to think about that too much. The same with driving a car, brushing your teeth, and talking with your mother-in-law.

All these things we do out of habit. They required a lot of energy and focus from us the first times we did them, and then, with practice and repetition, they become mindless habits.

You gotta work (that lazy brain), bitch

Climate change is not something we can do on autopilot. Grasping the full scope, and furthermore, accepting that we haven’t gained knowledge of the full scope yet, is a job for the cognitive brain. We have to invest energy. This is why it feels so overwhelming.

“What? There’s more? I don’t think I can take it!”

Yes, there is haWork_bitchrd work ahead.

The world’s ecosystems are in a dire state. 2015 has so far had the biggest hurricane ever recorded, the worst droughts ever recorded, and the worst forest fires ever recorded. 50% of the cases of extreme weather of 2014 were attributed to climate change.

 

You wouldn’t be reading this post if you didn’t already know that something is wrong, and you want it to stop being wrong. It not impossible, but it will require work.

Are you still reading? Well done, not only are you among the top percentage of people determined not to stick their head in the sand, and you also building your skill of using your cognitive brain with more ease.

Face the state of your life with determination. You can’t change your situation before you accept it.

What was that thing about it-security?

I fall into the same trap of a lazy brain. I have some really smart people in my network, who know a lot about IT- and data security. They tell me about IT-dangers, and what to do about it.

Every time I feel I have almost gotten up to speed and have a basic level of security, a new threat comes along and I have to learn everything all over again.

Then I think to myself: ‘Oh come on!! Just tell me what to do, already!!security_and_environmental_science

I just want to know, what program I need to install in order to make sure I’m ok in terms of IT security.

But as anyone with the faintest knowledge about IT knows, it’s so much more complex than that.

Just like fighting climate change and working for environmental preservation, is so much more than turning the water off, or buying a Prius.

If you’re not an environmentalist, it’s an immensely complex situation, and the more you learn about it, the more complex it gets. Just like I find IT security a much bigger subject the more I learn about it.

 

Making the complex manageable

Finally gaining this insight was a blessing and a curse. It became obvious that my post needed to be centered on making sense of the immense, and turning the mass of numbers and facts into something you could actually do.

 

This is also the reason for my environmental planner‘s ABCs. Which takes us full circle back to what you can do when facing the truth about climate change. I will cover this in the next blog post.

Environmental extremists – Inspirational or Scary?

Every now and then social media is flooded with a story of someone, who is acting in a way most of us would find extreme, in order to save the environment.

Take Lauren Singer, an environmental studies major, living in NYC. Lauren is a woman so committed to reducing her environmental footprint, that all for her waste from the past 2 years fits into just 1 mason jar. ONE!

To put in in perspective, the global waste production of 11,2 billion ton per year. This means, every human being in average produces the weight of 112 elephants in waste*. So her waste would fit inside the trunk of my elephant.

And on a side note; how can a person look that hot and stylish, while producing zero trash?

Elephant by https://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalart/

Elephant by Digital Art @Flikr

Wow, what an inspiration!

People and stories like this, remind us that we could do so much more. We don’t need to produce so much trash, use so much water, live in energy inefficient homes, or use non-renewable energy.

While we read the article, we think ‘wow, that’s inspirational! If everyone did this, the world would be so much better’. And then we might share the story on our preferred social media.

But then what? We don’t actually start to put our waste in mason jars. We don’t live off the grid using only rainwater and solar panels. At most we close the tab feeling inspired, and think a little bit more about bringing our own bag when doing grocery shopping.

Why don’t we act more like the people who inspire us? The answer is loss aversion.

We like what we have, and we want to keep it.

A lot of research has been done in this field, and I strongly encourage you to read up on it. In short, we like what we have, and we don’t want to lose it. But it’s not without its price.

Research shows that participants who where given a mug, and then had the chance to trade that mug for equally valued alternatives, where less willing to trade, or wanted much more money for it, than it’s actual worth. Why? Because they felt ownership for the mug.

This is a simplified explanation of the experiment. You can read the article here.

A similar study was done with candy bars. Half the participants where given candy bars, and the other half where given mugs. They where equally valued, but when the participants where given the change to exchange a mug for a candy bar, or vice versa, only one in ten did. Again, they where already attached to their belongings.

‘What if I regret choosing the mug over the candy bar? I better stick with the candy bar.’

But this influences us more than just candy bars and mugs. It keeps us from walking away from toxic relationships or bad jobs. ‘What if I miss her? What if I can’t find another job?’ Let me stress that these concerns are valid and important to consider when making big decisions. We shouldn’t’ just ignore them. But we put to much merit into loss aversion.

I might miss it – The Needy and Nice list

I’ve been moving around a lot in the past 8-10 years, and I find it to be a healthy exercise in separating the ‘need to haves’ from the ‘nice to haves’. When packing for a move, I get rid of a Lot of stuff I don’t use. Stuff that just takes up room. I try to gift it to others who are in need of such a things. Like books, kitchenware, clothes that I only wear every 4 years, and so on.

Clutter_MonaJensen

The clutter of loss aversion

Then I feel happy about having to move less boxes with me, and therefor having saved myself the trouble, of finding a place for the things after I’ve moved. This is a hard process for me because; ‘what if I regret getting rid of these things’?

But the same thing happens every time I move. I move into the new place, start unpacking, and then think to myself; Why did I bring this?? What am I ever going to use it for?’

The What if is powerful. This is also why we are reluctant to give up all the comfort that comes with overconsumption. The fear of loosing unfortunately sway us towards making unhealthy decisions.

How do we overcome loss aversion?

I’ll get to the solution in the next blog post. If you want to be sure not to miss it, add me to your RSS feed, or sign up for my newsletter.

Till next time, I’ll leave you with Robert Frost.

Frost_MonaJensen
*Note: The 112 elephants are how much trash we produce, including up-stream waste, meaning the waste that was generated while making the products we consume. An average Dane currently throws out about 447 kg of waste.

Sustainability, stupidity and socks.

The following is about some of the basic problems in changing lanes to a more sustainable future, and about sustainability cognition:

This post sprung out of something as simple as a journey from my bedroom to the bathroom. I went to go use the bathroom, but had to turn back to put on a hoodie and knitted socks because it was so freaking cold I couldn’t stand it.

Now, I far from live in a mansion. In fact, there’s only about 1,5 meters from my door to the bathroom. So why the desperate need for warmer clothing? Well, we’re on the top floor. Right above us, is the attic. This is what it looks like:

Attic_monajensen

Do you see it? The bare bricks, the total lack of insulation? (2016 Edit: Well, there is a layer of insulation beneath the attic floor, which is my ceiling. I have no idea how thick is is)

And this is the view from my window. The white stuff is snow (Sorry for the newb like window reflection, but there was no way in hell I was opening that window).

Sne og vindue

In other words, I live in a country that has a chance of snow from November to April, but has very low standard requirements for insulation, regarding buildings build before 1980. And that combination makes me a little bit angry. Cold and angry. And this is not a raggedy old building, this is a standard building in Copenhagen.
The following picture is from one of the cities in Denmark the closest to Copenhagen, in terms of size, culture and age of buildings. It’s taken with a 45 degree angle, so that it is possible to see the facades, as well as the roof tops. Lots of heat just getting lost. Lots of energy just wasting away.

37747_650_550_0_0_0_0

20% wasted energy

Studies show that more than 20% of Denmark’s total energy consumption can be eliminated, just by isolation our current, badly insulated buildings (in Danish). Some even argue it’s closer to 35%. I would love to say that Denmark is one of the worst sinners in the world when it comes to bad insulation, but we’re not. We’re like most other countries in the world. Actually we’re in the good end of the scale. A terrifying thought.

There have been different initiatives from the government to promote investment in housing insulation, where citizens could apply for financial help, in order to put in new and better (or any, in my building’s case) insulation. But this was only to stimulate the economy in the financial crisis, and now that the economy is finding a balance again, isolating your house just isn’t as attractive as buying that new car.

So why is it that, even though the insulation would still be a better investment than the car, we don’t see people rush to the insulation companies? I’ll tell you. The insulation has no bling. No status. How are you gonna show of your wealth and style? With a 2,5 inc fiber filling, or with a new Ford?

Now, I don’t wanna go as far as saying that human beings are stupid as a whole, just a little bit tied to our biological and social need of being accepted by the pack, in order to ensure our survival. We are a pack animal and we need to fit in to remain in the pack, and to show of power to excel within the pack. Hence the new Ford.

So now we seem to have an issue. We have nice cars, but will soon have no gas to put in them, and we have a big energy bill, that will only get bigger as prices of fossil fuel will rise. That seems to me kind of, ummh.. Stupid. But on the other hand, you can’t just rise against the pack, keep the old out-of-fashion-car, and use the money on insulation, can you?

What if it was all of a sudden in fashion to plan for the future and save money? What if all of the sudden you knew, that fossil fuel prices would only go up, and that you would have to cash out.

The economic crisis had a wonderful effect on the world’s sustainability cognition. All of the sudden it became popular to invest in renewable resources. Just like it did in the past oil crisis’. We saw the point, we saw the necessity. And most importantly, we saw ourselves. We saw, and we knew that keeping passive, will hit us hard. I have a motto:

The biggest lie in sustainable management is that we are doing this for our children and our children’s children.

child-817373_1920

We’re not. We shouldn’t be. We should be doing it for ourselves. Non-renewable resource reserves such as crude oil and helium will have run out before I even retire. Old age is gonna suck if we don’t act now. Unfortunately, the only thing that reminds us of this, is a crisis. When the world has settled again, we go for the car. So what do we do? Launch the world into a global crisis every now and then, just to stay on our toes. Insert a sense of panic every so often? NO! (I’ll get back to that in a later post) Fear is not the answer.

Part of the wolf pack – It’s biology, baby

We have to change the way we interact and the themes for which we are accepted into the pack. What if your neighbours frowned at you for not insulation your house, for not buying energy efficient appliances, for not eating organic food, what would you do then? What would you do to fit in and be accepted? What if the community, if states, pushed its government to make decisions that were long lasting, economically beneficial, and would secure enough resources for its citizens? Where would it start?

I think it starts in the individual. In the stubbornness of one person, to do what he or she finds to be right. In standing up to the pack and not buying that car. Then it spreads. Friends, family, neighbours, facebook relations. At some point these norms reach the key people who have governance enough to make a substantial difference. It’s all about the first movers. Marketing science knows this. Communication science knows this.  It’s time for environmental science to know this. It’s time for environmental science to understand that if it wants to succeed, if we want to succeed, we need to draw upon knowledge from other scientific branches, such as communication, economics, social network science, behavioural science, learning theories and much more.

I believe it’s doable. I also think I will be posting a lot more about the dilemmas and promises of this approach. In the mean time, maybe I should learn how to knit, so I’ll have socks for my freezing home.

Social acceptance.

*end note from 2016: Looking back, I’m glad to see that I was on the right track, and that the environmental sciences are welcoming other fields of science. I am a bit sad that I took a 4 year break from blogging, though. I Wish I had been gutsier back then, and shared these posts more. Hopefully this is one of those moments where you learn from your mistakes.