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2022 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

Posted on 1 October 2022 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 25, 2022  thru Sat,  Oct 1, 2022. 

Food for Thought

What the Climate Movement Can Learn From Collective Trauma Healing

Practices for helping large groups of people integrate traumatic histories could inform more effective action.

Christiana Figueres, the Costa Rican diplomat who played a key role in brokering the Paris Agreement, was renowned for using every conceivable ruse to charm, chivvy, and cajole world leaders to act.

But this week she will address a theme, rarely mentioned in U.N. negotiations, that she sees as the hidden culprit behind 30 years of missed chances to confront the climate crisis: the legacy of collective trauma. 

It’s well established that individuals can suffer lasting consequences from traumatic experiences, whether they be a child who survived abuse or a soldier returning from combat. But there is now a growing movement of practitioners working to unravel how communal experiences of war, slavery, racism, genocide, colonialism, gender violence and other forms of oppression can cause shared trauma on a collective scale. Leaders in this emerging field argue that the impact of events that took place decades or even centuries ago, can cascade through generations, silently shaping the destiny of communities, cultures, and nations — and perhaps the planet itself.

In the case of climate change, the sheer insanity of allowing carbon emissions to balloon to the point where the resulting heating threatens all life on Earth has prompted a search for deeper explanations. What lies underneath the perennial deadlocks at climate conferences, or the enduring grip of the fossil fuel lobby on the way we order our lives?

What the Climate Movement Can Learn From Collective Trauma Healing by Matthew Green, DeSmog, Sep 26, 2022 

Links posted on Facebook

Sun, Sep 25, 2022

Mon, Sep 26, 2022

Tue, Sep 27, 2022

Wed, Sep 28, 2022

Thu, Sep 29, 2022

Fri, Sep 30, 2022

Sat, Oct 1, 2022

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. Re: "How Do We Deal With the Polarization Around Climate Change? by Renee Cho, State of the Planet, Sep 23, 2022.

    People like Peter Coleman (I also read his book "The Way Out"), appear to deliberately evade acknowledging the harmful realities of injustice and inequity developed and excused by the American Experiment's selfish competition for perceptions of superiority any way that can be gotten away with. They correctly identify that the GOP, with Gingrich as the poster boy, was the origin of the current political polarization. But then they fail to tag the leadership driving the GOP as the source of the problem. Polarization only requires one side to be denying the ‘evidence-based improving understanding of what is harmful, how to be more helpful and the requirement for significant changes of what has mistakenly become popular and profitable through marketplace failure, including political marketplace failure, to learn about, identify and limit harm done' (Note that Elon Musk claims that the marketplace will determine if Tesla's robot AI developments are ethical - a BBC article "Tesla boss Elon Musk presents humanoid robot Optimus" includes the following "Mr Musk contended that shareholders would determine if the publicly traded company was socially responsible.").

    Political promotion of beliefs that are contrary to the best, and constantly improving, understanding based on all of the related evidence can undeniably create very challenging polarization, especially when the learning requires changes of perception regarding what is harmful and, as a result, changes perceptions of who deserves to be considered to be superior.

    That evasion of understanding of the harmful selfishness developed in systems like the USA experiment in "the greatness of unfettered freedom" leads researchers to believe things like the following: "Research has found that people usually have one of two basic motives: preventive—those desirous of preventing harm; or promotive—those aimed at fostering tolerance or harmony."

    Either of those two attitudes can be claimed to be a person's motivation when 'harmful selfishness and a related resistance to learning to be less harmful and more helpful' is more likely the motivation:

    • Personal loss of status or loss of opportunity for higher status by externally forced corrections of beliefs and improved understanding and related restrictions on harmful actions can be considered to be "harming people who would lose if they cannot maintain harmfully incorrect beliefs and are less able to benefit from being more harmful". It can be considered to be even more harmful if the people who benefited from past harm done have to lose some status by being required to help those who were harmed.
    • A person wanting to benefit from being harmful can believe they are right to demand compromises of understanding of what is harmful in order to "foster harmony and tolerance". That is like claiming that all beliefs are equally valid and therefore harmful beliefs have to be excused and accepted to show tolerance for, and have harmony with, people who oppose learning about a diversity of important evidence-based matters (learning to change a developed belief or lack of awareness and make amends for related harmful results on a diversity of evidence-based matters like the compendium of understanding regarding the Sustainable Development Goals.

    There is little doubt that unjustified resistance to learning, excused by selfishness, is powerfully motivating the polarization on issues related to Climate Science.


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  2. The following recent articles reinforce the understanding I presented in my comment @1.

    NPR item "Facts come to the rescue in the age of gaslighting"

    CBC Ideas item "American democracy is at a precipice, experts say. And time is ticking"

    A harmfully selfish group has teamed up to fight as dirty as they can get away with in pursuit of personally benefiting the most and defending or excusing their ill-gotten gains. They argue that popularity and profitability must rule, as long as they benefit from what is popular and profitable. Think about Elon Musk's claim that Social Responsibility is to be judged by popularity and profitability.

    Popular and profitable beliefs and actions can be undeniably harmful. And they develop powerful resistance to change. The more popular or profitable something has become the harder it can be to learn about how harmfully incorrect it is (corporate or political team secrecy is key). People benefiting unjustly will try to fight against investigation into the harmful incorrectness of the beliefs and actions they benefit from. And even if, by some fluke, the harmfulness of developed popular and profitable ideas and actions becomes knowable it can be very hard to get adoring passionate fans to change their made-up minds. Many people will simply resist learning about the harm and the need to correct and restrict popular and profitable beliefs and actions. Their interests are contrary to learning to limit the harm done to the future of humanity. And they will be tempted to believe they are justified to do what many did on January 6, 2020 (when a gang 'visited and toured' the USA Capitol)

    Climate science is one of the many fronts that the diverse collective team of harmfully selfish people fight on. The people opposed to learning about climate science because they oppose the required corrections of what has developed can be seen to be teaming up with people who desire to resist corrections of understanding on other issues. They have a common sense of the need to prolong their ability to benefit unjustly. They sense the threat of evidence and constantly improving understanding that contradicts what they have developed a liking for.

    Their way of fighting is to tempt people to like to believe misleading claims, often using carefully made messages that are likely to powerfully trigger unjustified fear or anger in easily impressed fans. And many people will become so unjustly fearful and angry that they will even persist in believing utter non-sense, and publicly act out in unjustified anger (January 6, 2020 comes to mind, but it is not the only example).

    That harmful reality is on bold display in many of the supposedly 'most advanced nations' on this planet, not just the severely harmfully compromised USA. But the USA can be seen to be the likely origin of the global harmful plague of harmful fictions claimed to be Truth, including semi-fictions based on selective evidence like the claims that the global climate science conspiracy has been exposed by selected bits of stolen emails taken out of context.

    Clearly, the future of humanity requires some people to be severely disappointed by having their beliefs and desired actions publicly robustly declared to be harmfully incorrect. Some people will powerfully resist learning, will not responsibly self-govern. They will require external governing to limit their ability to influence what happens ... because everybody's actions add up to form the future including, but not only, the future global surface climate conditions.

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