HomeBehaviour changeIs the end nigh for apocalyptic messages?

Is the end nigh for apocalyptic messages?

Just a very quick post on a fascinating new paper from the University of California, Berkely, on why talking about impeding apocalypse can be counter-productive. Similar points have been made before in our work, and by others in the US and the UK, and it’s interesting to see academic testing of the idea.

As Andrew Revkin says on the NY Times Dot Earth blog, there are a number of psychological traits which mean that hearing about potential climate catastrophe can make acceptance of the problem less likely:

“The research, by Matthew Feinberg and Robb Willer, reinforces the case that a large part of the climate challenge is not out in the world of eroding glaciers and  limited energy choices, but inside the human mind.

“There’s the “finite pool of worry” ( Did we pay the rent this month?). There’s “single action bias” ( I changed bulbs; all set.) There are powerful internal filters ( dare I say blinders?) that shape how different people see the same body of information,” he writes.

Come back soon for a series of posts on some of the best research and guidance on climate communications and behaviour change that we’ve come across in the past year or so.

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Sylvia was the editor of Green Alliance's blog from 2010 to April 2013. She is an assistant producer on Al Jazeera English's flagship environmental show, earthrise, and an award-winning print journalist who writes for publications including the Guardian, the Evening Standard and New Scientist. She was previously a policy adviser at Green Alliance.