Climate deniers and Kubler Ross
The science is clear – the climate is warming – the rational deniers only have left to argue how much is anthropogenic (man-made) and how much is for example caused by the sun, the earth orbit, cosmic radiation etc.
A scientific summarising of climate facts can be found here: http://knowledge.allianz.com/en/globalissues/climate_change/global_warmi…
and here: http://www.world-mysteries.com/newgw/sci_globalwarming.htm and here: http://www.heatisonline.org/main.cfm and on countless other websites.
Rational deniers – well – many deniers are not rational -, trying for example to claim that a few odd emails show that there is a oil-industry funded conspiracy behind the climate consensus, that in reality the scientists do not agree, that the globe is warming!
(See for example here: http://climateprogress.org/2009/06/17/the-breakthrough-institute-shellen…)
Science do not aim to agree, (a scientist may if he has a personal agenda, but that is not scientific!) Anyway, a scientist has a theory that he tries to disprove! Only if that is not successful, and after stringent peer revue, his thesis is considered a viable theory – (still not a fact). When scientists from many disciplines, many countries, many universities, and via many methods reach converging results, the theory gathers so much weight, so it becomes as close to a fact that a scientist can get.
In this way it is today obvious that global warming is a fact, and overwhelmingly likely that warming at least to a large extend is anthropogenic.
There are a scary amount of people that frankly don’t care, some vocal deniers, way too many with power, as the lack of substantial progress at the Copenhagen meeting showed.
The issue about global warming is about human survival, inaction will cost lives, and thus it may be relevant to consider why so many people have difficulties absorbing and reacting on unpleasant facts.
In order to understand this, let us look at what Kubler Ross, the Swiz born psychiatrist that revolutionised the Western understanding of the process of dying writes about the stages of grief from bad diagnosis to death. Kubler Ross reached the conclusion that a dying person often go through 5 distinctive phases in their way of coping with the situation:
Denial and Isolation; Anger ; Bargaining; Depression; Acceptance
This is deeply valuable keywords to have in mind when we deal with terminally ill people.
And - A closer look at today’s events will reveal that the same patterns seems to be unfolding collectively at the moment. The climate deniers– some vocal, a few well spoken, most just loud, are denying climate warming to be a fact.
So Kubler Rosses first stage in the dealing with death is already visible.
Remember, Kubler Rosss talked about one person at a time, this essay is about mass-reactions, in other words we should expect most of the 5 stages to be visible at varying degree now – and we are!
Denial and Isolation: See for example the resistance from many countries to pull their weight in Copenhagen
Anger: Already visible – everything from desperation – window smashing, car-burning etc. to more biting as for example Greenpeaces “I’m sorry” posters of politicians 20 years older from now, realising what suffering their inaction now has caused in the world.
Bargaining: The whole idea of for example a climate conference is bargaining – that the individual countries try to support each other – and even more so – try to get other nations to support them – Bargaining is typical in so many tense life-situations, some genuinely meant, others jforgotten as soon as the crisis is over – if I do/stop doing/ this, will you do that… We must hope that reality has time enough for humans to make the bargains matter!
Depression: This is a sentiment increasingly expressed by the people that knows – (either depression or desperation), see for example here: http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?ID=72…
The reality is, that since IPCC is conservative – always go for the least unpleasant average of the 2000 or so scientists that contribute, reality very probably is worse.
Since the recent international climate conference in Copenhagen we have seen deniers, climate scientists and the many sub-groups displaying both denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, but as far as I know, not acceptance.
In a period of crisis, ones own integrity is of utmost importance, not a membership of a religion or other group promising salvation for its members – who will survive is up to our karma, fate or luck dependent on beliefs, but just as in trafick, a level-headed integrity helps in not overreacting to other peoples overreactions.
The only way to gain more integrity is to live in more peace with our own heart.