This one is really a thought experiment but it is so important and so difficult to do that it can almost be physically painful.
For that very reason, it is vital to not only solving the climate crisis, but also to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things and to understand where people are coming from, in their life experiences and in their way of thinking. But, it isn’t easy. The concept of “confirmation bias,” which is the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories keeps us stuck in how we approach a problem and where we get our information. It is probably part of our evolutionary past. Another way of looking at it for this purpose is “doxastic closure.” This basically means when a person is closed to new information or when a specific belief one holds, or that one’s entire belief system, is resistant to revision.
How does this even relate to this Page? Well, when dealing with people who deny climate change, or when thinking that there is only one ultimate solution to the problem and then doubling down and becoming entrenched in that one aspect of a problem, we miss out on a lot and maybe can’t see the bigger picture. In Guy P. Harrison’s book, “50 Popular Beliefs that People Think are True,” he says that there is a political debate about global warming because of Al Gore. When I read that, I thought, “WHAT??” If it weren’t for Al Gore, then we wouldn’t know about the problem in the first place. But Guy goes on to say, “He was a politician first and foremost, so he was divisive and suspicious to millions before he even said one word on the issue.” Did Al Gore know he would cripple the movement before it even began? Of course not. Guy goes on to ask how Democrats would have felt if Sarah Palin had been the one to introduce global warming. Wow! Of course. At that point, I understood the situation a lot better.
So, for today, try, just try, to read a website, watch a TV show or consume any information from what you consider the “other side” of how you believe. Try (it’s difficult) to find some kernel of truth or good information that you would have otherwise been closed up to receiving. I fight against my own biases every day. It’s really hard to do. If I hadn’t been doing that, I would not have even followed the evidence to the post below about President Obama. It was literally painful to learn those things, but I had to push through it or else I wouldn’t understand the problem. Try this, please. It will make you a better thinker, a more empathetic person and a more capable soldier in the battle for our planet.
(This was originally posted to my Facebook page on October 17th, but its message is timeless)