08 July 2012

Our Love/Hate Relationship with Change

When I talk with people who are moderately interested in the climate change crisis about why nothing is happening, they tend to all tell me the same thing. "People don't like change."

People don't like change? That can't be true. People change jobs and marriage partners and houses quite frequently. They create change by going on vacations and getting new hairstyles and trying new restaurants. Change is what we do!

Why, then, are people in North America so loathe to change to a zero-carbon economy and lifestyle?

A good friend  one who understands human beings and their motivations  suggested that people tend to embrace and do things that fill a personal need and/or that provide them with some sort of benefit.

Okay, we know that people seek change (it's as good as a rest!). And we know that people change when they see some personal benefit in it. So I still don't get it.

We can't change to save the world, but we changed to ruin the world. What's the diff? I don't get why we changed so easily over the last 100 years or so to become users of fossil fuels and watchers of consumerism-promoting claptrap, but we can't change back (or forward).

Don't we regard a viable future for our offspring as a personal benefit? Do people not view survival of their own species as a personal benefit? With the weather giving many of us a taste of hell this summer, wouldn't we want to see mitigation of the worst impacts of global warming as a personal benefit?

Here's what I'm wondering. Has our task been so simple all along, we've missed it? Is our job, as climate change activists, merely to help people see the personal benefits of staying alive and healthy? Are we simply supposed to be asking people to be open to the changes that must occur if we want to ensure a future for our children ... and our species ... and life on Earth?

It's quite likely that we've missed the boat on substituting a zero-carbon version for our carbon-intensive intense lifestyles (we didn't start the move to zero carbon energy production soon enough). But living (again, after millennia of living this way) in small communities where we grow our own food and create our own energy and look out for each other – that's a beautiful vision of the future, isn't it?
Found at Live. Love. Learn. Breathe.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?