Warning the following Clip Contains Offensive Language:
Recently I asked myself the question “Why don’t people care about the environment anymore?”. As I started to do some research, I discovered that there was more to this question than I had originally thought.
To cut a long story short… Technological Utopianism is the false belief system that technology will solve all of our environmental issues. In other words let someone or something else fix it?
In a recently published study, Szeman says the main assumption among scientists — that with knowledge comes behavioural change — is proving to be an ineffective premise in dealing with environmental problems resulting from oil production and use.
In “System Failure: Oil, Futurity, and the Anticipation of Disaster,” Szeman says there are three social narratives that prevent people from acting on the knowledge they have concerning the effects of oil on the environment: strategic realism, the notion that oil production is good because it supports economic security; eco-apocalypse, which Szeman explains as our incapacity to act on knowledge we have; and technological utopianism, the belief that technology will solve environmental problems resulting from oil and its usage.
Read More: Science Daily
Apathy and Ignorance
I found this entry from a school student who was surprised by the responses of his fellow students when asked to do an assignment on the environment.
Not too long ago, we read a novel in my school that touched on the topic of saving the environment, and our teacher, being a “tree-hugger” (as the kids call her), had us write an essay on an environmental issue. Immediately, ideas popped into my head and I was eager to start, but something made me stop.
“What is an environmental issue?” one kid asked. “What if we don’t care about the environment?” another complained. “It’s not like it affects me.”
These comments astounded me. I have always cared about the environment (my dad’s a park ranger) and assumed that others did too. From the look on my teacher’s face, I could tell she felt the same way.
“An environmental issue? You all know what that is, don’t you?” Lots of kids shook their heads. My teacher was taken aback. “Well, I have some examples written on your test, so use one of them, I guess. I can’t believe … ”
Read More: Teenink
It becomes obvious when reading this entry that the education system is lacking some important curriculum.
When it comes to the preparation of the future generations (who will unknowingly inherit the environmental issues of today) they lack the appropriate information vital to secure the future of our planet.
We covered this topic in an earlier article “Young People Are Less Green Than Their Hippy Parents“
In another report I found, some of the key issue identified when it comes to people accepting responsibility for the environment are as follows:
- Uncertainty– Research has shown that uncertainty over climate change reduces the frequency of “green” behaviour.
- Mistrust – Evidence shows that most people don’t believe the risk messages of scientists or government officials.
- Social comparison – People routinely compare their actions with those of others and derive subjective and descriptive norms from their observations about what is the “proper” course of action. i.e. Al Gore’s large residence has been used as a justification for inaction.
- Undervaluing risks – A study of more than 3,000 people in 18 countries showed that many people believe environmental conditions will worsen in 25 years. While this may be true, this thinking could lead people to believe that changes can be made later.
- Lack of Control – People believe their actions would be too small to make a difference and choose to do nothing.
- Perceived behavioural control – Because climate change is a global problem, many individuals understandably believe that they can do nothing about it. This is the well-known collective action problem.
- Habit – Ingrained behaviours are extremely resistant to permanent change while others change slowly.
The report says psychology has already been used by government and campaign groups to tackle these barriers.
Read More: The Ecologist
Many people on our planet are employed in jobs that are effectively destroying the planet. If they where to stand up and make a conscious decision to quit their jobs and save the environment, the global economy would collapse and they would be unemployed.
People today are also less likely to protest against environmental issues for many reasons including fear of being arrested. A lot of people feel that they don’t have the time to protest as they are so busy just trying to make ends meet.
What can you do?
There are some basic behaviour modifications that you can make, that will help the environment. After all the best way to make a change is by starting with yourself.
Use less electricity
Avoid products that are known to be environmentally unfriendly i.e. S.U.V.s
Walk to work or the local shops (if you can)
Support organisations like the Sea Shepherd
Learn more about what’s going on
Start an environmental group to raise awareness