So many sad things in the news these days. I suppose the reason we here in the West (in EuroAmerican countries) are okay with committing atrocities overseas and allowing or even supporting atrocities overseas (short-term and long-term atrocities) is that if we don't think about it (look at it, hear about it, talk about it), it's not a problem.
For example, a new study out of Norway shows that Norwegians are in denial about climate change not because they "don't believe in it" (it's not a religion, after all), but because acknowledging climate change will challenge their image of themselves as nice people who don't harm anyone (except with the greenhouse gas emissions from their economy based on oil and gas). Here is Paul Thagard describing the research at Psychology Today:
Kari Marie Norgaard is an American sociologist who spent a year in a small city in Norway interviewing people about their beliefs and attitudes concerning climate change.... Norgaard says that global warming is difficult for ordinary Norwegians to think about because it threatens their individual and collective sense of identity. Norwegians tend to view themselves as egalitarian and socially just on an international scale, so it is difficult for them to acknowledge that their country's large production of oil and gas contributes to global warming....Given their knowledge of climate change and their political values, it upsets Norwegians to think that global warming is a threat to human well-being, so they steer clear of thinking and talking about it.... Norgaard plausibly argues that explanation of climate change denial by ordinary Norwegians needs to be framed in terms of complex links between emotions and social structures. Denial results not just from individual thought processes, but also from processes of social interaction that encourage people to talk and think in some ways rather than others.
What if we turned these thought processes and social norms on their heads, and started asking Americans and Canadians and Norwegians and all the other comfortable, fossil-fuel producing/consuming people in the world to approach the climate change emergency with compassion, altruism, and selflessness. Because caring about the world's most vulnerable will, in the end, be good for all of us.
Selfish &%$#@! Theme Week is wrapping up today, so I just want to say it one more time. Selfishness when it comes to what we do (or don't do) today to mitigate climate change for future generations will come back to bite us in the butt. And if you're so old that you scoff at that notion, then please consider your role as an ancestor, or simply as a fellow human being.
And yes, to the man who said those incredibly selfish things in our local newspaper, I am talking to you. Please, have a heart and get some compassion. For your karma if not for your kids. Feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about the science.
p.s. I'm taking tomorrow off. Going to spend the day with some very unselfish, wonderful friends.