Spinning off of the Transition-sponsored film series “Years of Living Dangerously,” several people met weekly for six sessions at the Lopez island Bookstore to discuss Per Espen Stoknes’ insightful new book, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming. The discussions were led by Nikyta Palmisani, Outreach and Education Coordinator for Lopez SWAP.
Stoknes, a psychologist and economist, says, “The more facts that pile up about global warming, the greater the resistance to them grows, making it harder to enact measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the inevitable change ahead. Our failure to connect with others on this issue starts with an inadequate understanding of the way most humans think, act, and live in the world around them.”
With dozens of examples—from the private sector to government agencies—Stoknes shows how to reframe the story of climate change and, at the same time, create positive, meaningful actions that can be supported even by deniers. He identifies the five main psychological barriers to climate action and addresses them with five strategies for how to dialogue about global warming in a way that creates action and solutions, not further inaction and despair.
These strategies work with, rather than against, human nature. They are social, positive, and simple—making climate-friendly behaviors easy and convenient. They are also story-based, to help add meaning and create community. What We Think About… moves beyond the psychological barriers that block progress and opens new doorways to social and personal transformation.
Several members of the discussion group are actively engaged in gathering signatures to get I-732, the initiative to address climate change by taxing fossil fuels, on the 2016 ballot, and found the book extremely helpful.