Despite the often communicated real Threat of climate change, many people hesitate to act. But why do we lack self-motivation?
According to the most recent Climate & Environment- United Nations report, the climate change will have serious consequences for flora and fauna within the next 10 years. Why not so many people for that environmental protection act, explains Art Markman, PhD. He is Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of the book Smart Change.
Related topics: Transform to Net Zero: How to make the economy climate neutral by 2050
1. I just do it the day after tomorrow
What's coming next week, next month, next year always feels very far away. That's why we're eating chocolate today, even though we want to fit in jeans next month. Why should we forego the SUV today if we don't feel any effect on the weather? Studies have shown that people often overestimate short-term benefits and neglect long-term benefits. Ignoring environmental protection also makes life easier. Because changing always brings with it challenges.
2. Not clear because not linear
Global warming is not linear, but in spurts. That's hard for us to understand. Simply put, every day for 5 Euro one Latte Macchiato buy, I can easily figure out how much I have in a week ausgeben to, However, if I eat unhealthily for years and do not exercise, I'm still surprised to be diabeticized one day. This development is too abstract, since it is linear and then exponential. A possible sudden deterioration of the conditions is often not taken into account. People are much better at dealing with obvious threats, such as not crossing the street during traffic and not in the forest at night spazieren.
3. Too far and uncertain
The consequences of climate change are felt to be very far away, not only in the future, but also locally and socially. Natural disasters or the melting of ice occur in places where the majority of the population does not live. Therefore, they are often conceptualized and have little effect on our emotions. The future is also uncertain: not only with regard to their own lives, but also the consequences of global warming that have been predicted by experts are viewed with skepticism by many.
The solution is to reduce the psychological distance
Art Markman says that only when the psychological distance to the effects of climate change is reduced will people be motivated to act. Therefore, he calls on not only to be active, but also to get our fellow human beings carried away.
Who deals with the UN report familiarize yourself and talk to friends and acquaintances about how our lives will be affected by climate change, you can become active as an influencer and advocate. Above all, draw attention to the fact that climate change is not a long way off, on the contrary, it is already within reach. There are always skeptics, but here, too, the conflict should be avoided and conversation encouraged. Even if only 30% of the prophesied consequences occur, this can drastically change our planet.
Also interesting: Coronavirus and the environment: 5 things the climate change crisis teaches us
Our personal value system is of central importance
Those who prefer to enrich themselves today at the expense of future generations are making a choice that they may not even be behind. Of course we want to have a nice life, and it should stay that way. However, consciously with sense and understanding. Even small changes, such as switching off lights and using public transport, serve to protect our earth in the long term. You can find our infographic on the 5 ultimate climate protection tips for everyday life here .