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What stage of climate grief are you locked in?

Posted By Joanne Nova On March 6, 2015 @ 2:29 am In Academia,Big-Government,Global Warming,Psychology | Comments Disabled

What if you lost, say, the Great Barrier Reef? No seriously, what if you woke up one morning and it was gone? Celeste Young is paid to worry about that and she’s written a whole article on climate grief. It has no data, and uses models and namecalling which makes it a perfect fit for The Conversation.

A variety of losses can be experienced. People may grieve due to the perceived future loss of something; for example, the type of grief often expressed via social media over the potential loss of the Great Barrier Reef. Individuals and communities may grieve for the loss of a loved landscape damaged by drought, fire or flood.

She adapts the famous Kubler Ross Five Stages of Grief (doesn’t everyone) to to deliver clichés in table form. But don’t rush to knock it, I think this is a new form of grieving, where people project the grief of their collapsing religion onto something else instead, like “the environment”. Let’s call it Parody-grieving. Does Young realize the parallels? The Climate-club are still stuck at stage one. They know something is wrong but the cognitive dissonance is killing them: their heroes hide declines and data, are too scared to debate anyone, and the equipment just keeps failing and needs adjustment. Their saints get imaginary Nobel Prizes for Peace instead of science, but even with every six-member-science-committee on the planet reciting the hymn, half the citizens on Earth don’t believe them, and never will.

For Celeste and her friends the news is bad. They used to think they could control the climate. Feel her pain.

 Even with concerted efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, some climate change cannot be avoided

She’s waking up to a world where the climate might change. The fantasy climate of her childhood dreams is evaporating. At least she can get some consolation that unlike most of the last 100,000 years of humanity, when the storms come, she has electricity, four wheel drives and hospitals.

That nine tenths of a degree of warming we’ve had is not so bad, Celeste, compared to an ice age.

The insights don’t stop:

Climate change does throw up some unique challenges because it is continuous change.

Continuous change — as opposed to what — the last 65 million years of  volcanoes, asteroids, and wild swinging interglacials? There’s that utopia of the stable climate again. Humans had to grieve through the Dark Ages, the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. Somehow they grieved without an iphone.

This may result in people becoming overwhelmed as losses accumulate over time, or becoming “stuck” and unable to move through the grief process.


Grief Stage One – Some people deny we have a climate. Feel sorry for them. |  (Click to enlarge).

Young sees three key psychological responses:

Clive Hamilton discusses some of these responses in a 2009 paper, and in his 2010 book Requiem for a Species where he proposed that denial, maladaptive (bad) coping, and adaptive (good) coping were the three key psychological responses to climate change.

As psychological reponses go, “adaptive coping” is good, but logic, reason and evidence are better. See my thoughts on Clive Hamilton and his blind hypocrisy on “ethics”.

Thanks to Tim Blair. He always spots the good ones.

Celeste Young is a sustainability/climate change professional at Victoria University.

As MiltonG of Brisbane says in comments at Tim Blair’s:

I’m still grieving for the standards of Victoria University.  Celeste Young states in comments to her article that:

just to clarify that climate denial is a term that has been used in the literature, l did not use the word climate denier in the article

Yet the table gives “Climate denial” as an example of the first stage of grief adaption, and underneath the table it says “Celeste Young, author provided”.

Victoria U – fifth-rate to the core.

From Ruairi in comment #14:
To believe in warming,for years,
Then be duped by climate change fears,
Then reach the conclusion,
It was all an illusion,
Is bound to bring warmists to tears.
h/t to Handjive and manalive

From Chapter 4, Young struggles to get a grip on even the most basic aspects of human psychology:

People working in climate change often ask why there is such difficulty in motivating action when the science is so clear in its findings. Initially, it was widely assumed that this was a straightforward exercise where, if you gave people sufficient information, they would act on it. However, communication that requires action is not just about dissemination of information, which on its own has been found to be ‘insufficient to precipitate interest, attitude formation and behaviour change’1. It is something much more complex and interesting, that requires building relationships with the people you are communicating with and including them as part of the communication. It is an area where informal communication is as important as formal – small conversations in a lunch room can have as much impact on a person as a media campaign in ‘winning the conversation’2.
My reply to Young:
1. Your base assumption is that the science is “so clear”. If you bothered to check that you’ll find that there are thousands of papers, and thousands of scientists that contradict that. Almost half  of meteorologists are skeptics. The models are failures with major faults in their core assumptions, and by 28 million weather balloons, 3,000 ocean buoys, 6,000 boreholes,  and hundreds of proxies. They fail on short term forecasts, and can’t explain long term historic climate movements either. Since the models don’t work, the science is not clear (though the unscientific propaganda is).
2. This is a straightforward exercise in “sufficient” information. Public data and methods have been lost, hidden, adjusted and is not supplied even through FOIA. Not surprisingly, half the population are unconvinced when so-called “experts” use tricks to hide declines, call people names and pretend they can predict clouds and humidity 100 years in the future. Half the population are aware that scientists are terrible at predicting the climate, so when the same scientists say the science is settled, it only makes skeptics more skeptical.  The gullible drink that kind of kool aid.
3. You don’t build relationships with the people you are communicating with by calling them names and likening them to pedophiles and drunks. Note your reference 2 in the paragraph above:  2 Vale, P. (22 August, 2013). Al Gore compares climate change deniers to racists and drunks, Huffington Post UK. You seem to approve that kind of approach?
4. You say we should “include them [skeptics] as part of the conversation”. But do you mean that, or is that just empty posturing? If you do, why don’t you read the main skeptical blogs? There is nothing in your report that suggests you have any idea why skeptics are skeptical. If you really want to understand skeptics, isn’t that the place you start before you write 64 page documents? If you are sincere about this, let me know. I’ll send you comments written by polite upstanding scientists with decades of experience that The Conversation refuses to publish. Will you ask The Conversation to stop calling skeptics names and shutting them out of “the conversation”?
Point three is kindergarten stuff.  It’s just manners. Ponder how insular and intellectually weak your academic surroundings are that you need to be reminded of this. By the way, I’d guess most skeptics are at Stage 4 — Depression. Depressed that our tax dollars are wasted on inane navel-gazing projects that break laws of logic, don’t supply observational evidence, and call people insulting names which have no meaning in accurate English. But we will never get to “acceptance” of this.
As you say:
 Listening and responding is essential to adaptation communication; it should be a dialogue not a monologue.

We look forward to the day you start listening.

Jo — Former believer in a man-made crisis
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