David Wallace Wells: Are you Scared Enough?

July 22, 2019

Are we scared enough?

I don’t think society is nearly frightened enough as a whole. But at the same time I don’t think that frightening messages need to be grounded in science – and some aren’t – the topic of my recent video below.

Below, dealing with the emotional impact of climate change.

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7 Responses to “David Wallace Wells: Are you Scared Enough?”

  1. jimbills Says:

    Peter – should that be ‘don’t think’ – or ‘do think’ that frightening messages need to be grounded in science?

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    First video–it’s not just a question about scaring or not scaring people. This is why I’ve said thousands of times that it’s crucial for everyone to understand psychology and to understand that the root problem here is psychological.

    This is one of maybe 3 times in more than 10 years I’ve heard someone beside me talk about fight, flight, or freeze in the context of climate cataclysm, instead of just fight or flight. That’s a major step forward, at least in this very small corner of the discussion. Freezing is part of the manifold process of being overwhelmed–what many people mistake as bored (by climate debates, for example) or apathetic. Just the opposite; it’s a symptom of such extreme over-excitation nothing else can be comprehended, accomplished, or even expressed. Thus we have denying delayalist trolls, unable to feel or express their emotions, but who have no any idea they’re going through anything, just wanting to put the whole thing off. Without help, they get stuck there, and with reinforcement from other stuck people, equally clueless about what’s happening to and within them, they and their entire party and part of the country get stuck–essentially forever–unless we help them out of it.

    People must be told the truth about climate, but yes, at this point it is terrifying. Whatever their knowledge, they’re likely to need help getting through and modulating (and learning to modulate) the emotions, to regulate their state. They need to be provided with the right mix of scary information, comfort, and processing, to stay between overwhelm and actual /or apparent disinterest (Wallace-Wells’ disavowal of being the dreaded “environmentalist”, switching to the action movie that’s a hidden climate change move, etc…). The best way to do this is with someone who understands both climate crisis and psychotherapy, or with a team of educators and psychotherapists. In a sane society, this would be government-funded and available to everyone; in ours it’s nonexistent, thus we head toward unparalleled catastrophe.

  3. Ron Benenati Says:

    the fear of climate change being a UN plan to take over america galvanized plenty of climate denial

  4. redskylite Says:

    Towards the end of last century, the spectra of man’s industrial emissions of especially CO2 was raised, fairly gently. I think commentators expected that action would be forthcoming.

    Instead the industry doubled up on the efforts to quell the news, and carry on with business as usual.

    The predicted range of doubling the CO2 concentration by the end of this century is quite wide something like 1.5°C – 4.5°C, and it looks to me that we will end up nearer the higher if we carry on as we are, with uncoordinated efforts to stop our pollution.

    Over 2°C has always been viewed as highly dangerous, so we have good cause to panic. We do not all need to be able to understand the science or calculate the effect of doubling. If we jump off a high bridge – we do not need a scientists explaining gravity to use on our decent.

    Every day, if we care to look, we learn of complications and more knowledge.

    If war breaks out many are initially scared – but we learn to fight and get through.

    So what is holding us back ? And note to Judith Curry, there is nothing wrong with being scared. It is a human reaction and there for a purpose.

    “Stark warning’: New research identifies deadly hidden weather hazard that has the potential to affect millions of people ” – 22 July 2019

    – Researchers identify powerful tropical cyclones followed by deadly heatwaves as a hidden weather hazard with serious consequences
    – New study reveals that this hazard is already possible for densely populated coastlines in the current climate, but ‘luck’ has meant only a handful of people have been impacted so far
    – Using weather observations and computer modelling, the researchers predict that this hazard could increase rapidly as the climate warms
    – Their results also show that millions of people could be impacted by the ‘tropical cyclone-deadly heat hazard’ as global temperatures continue to rise

    https://www.lboro.ac.uk/news-events/news/2019/july/emerging-tropical-cyclone-deadly-heat-hazard/

  5. ubrew12 Says:

    I think Trump is President because a sufficient number of American faith-based voters got angry about the aborting of fetuses who, but for the fact that they are the size of a kidney bean, with a brain the size of a mustard seed, are little baby Jesus’, every one (Trump will, they are told, change the Supreme Court until it overturns Roe-v-Wade. He also will do a lot of other things that, they are told, don’t matter).
    Note, I said they ‘got angry’, not fearful. That’s what it takes to bring people to the polls: not fear, anger. It’s hard to be fearful about abortion, because nobody is going to make you abort your child, so its tailor made as an issue to spur angry conservative Americans to vote. And that’s what Climate Change needs: not fear, not sympathy or empathy for others, but righteous anger. So the communication should not simply be about how horrific this will be, but how unnecessary. It must be hammered home, again and again, that your kids are going to take it on the chin so that the Koch Brothers, Vladimir Putin, and the Saudi Royal family, can add a few more billions to what they already have, and for no other reason. This is not just an unknowable catastrophe, upon which to pray. This is something THAT guy did you YOUR kids, because he’s a selfish pr88k, and for no other apparent reason. Bring that message home to the voter, and they’ll take that righteous anger all the way to the top of the government.


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