Scientists claim climate change deniers are in need of treatment. American anti-intellectualism is a disease. Action must be taken to break the individual and cultural inertia preventing an adequate response to the global threat of human-caused climate change.
According to leading experts on global environmental and social issues, resistance to the reality of anthropogenic global warming (human-caused climate change) must be recognized and treated before real action can be taken to effectively address this significant threat facing our planet.
Meeting in London last week, scientists came together for the Planet Under Pressure 2012 conference to discuss potential solutions to the challenge of global sustainability.
A featured speaker at the conference, University of Oregon Professor Kari Norgaard, explains:
We find a profound misfit between dire scientific predictions of ongoing and future climate changes and scientific assessments of needed emissions reductions on the one hand, and weak political, social or policy response on the other.
People are individually and collectively habituated to the ways we act and think. This habituation must be recognized and simultaneously addressed.
This kind of cultural resistance to very significant social threat is something that we would expect in any society facing a massive threat.
Just as we cannot overhaul a car fleet overnight, we cannot change our ideological superstructure overnight. We must first be aware that this resistance is happening at all levels of our society. If you have to push a heavy weight, it doesn’t mean it can’t be moved, but in order to push it you had better know that you have something heavy and figure out how to move it — where to put the lever to shift the weight.
The “profound misfit” between the scientific community and the general population at large when it comes to the recognition of the reality and severity of anthropogenic global warming (human caused climate change) is a serious problem. The organized attempts by climate change deniers to downplay, deny or dismiss the scientific consensus on the extent of global warming, its significance, and its connection to human behavior, is a destructive, maladaptive, and irrational condition requiring intervention and treatment.
Many conservative Americans are reluctant to accept what science demonstrates. There is an anti-intellectualism that is rampant among conservatives, a toxic brew of misinformation and religious superstition that prevents many Americans from accepting such simple scientific realities as evolution. Overcoming this resistance, this anti-intellectualism, is a necessary task before the political will can be generated to address the global threat human-caused climate change represents.
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