INSPIRE Third Edition: June 2020 - Page 12

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ASK THE EXPERT

By Sophie Heaton

Hey guys! My name is Sophie Heaton (also known as Psych Soph). I am a recent ‘First Class’ BSc Psychology Graduate, aiming to make current psychological research more relevant to everyday life. Aside from psychology, I am also passionate about fundraising for charity & tasting every gin flavour ever made!!

Catch me on instagram @psych_soph if you have any questions!

Preferred pronouns: she, her, hers.

We’ve all heard of 'Climate Change’, but what does it actually mean? According to NASA scientists, climate change refers to a broad range of changes happening to our planet which are due to global warming. This can include anything from extreme weather events, to a decrease in wildlife populations or a rise sea levels - all which are highly destructive to our planet. The effects of these changes are now so great that climate change has been dubbed as, “the greatest threat to human health in history.”

Since the early 19th Century, scientists have been expressing concerns about climate change; specifically, how human activity has contributed towards rising temperatures. The scientists have continually pressed for this information to be made public knowledge. More recently, there have been many attempts to make this information more accessible. One of the most successful platforms is undoubtedly the Netflix documentary series, ‘Our Planet’ (2019).

The Psychology behind Climate Change inaction

However, despite an increase in knowledge, there is still a large percentage of the population who outrightly refuse to engage in the climate change rhetoric or take action. Why is this?

This article explores:

- The 3 psychological explanations behind climate change inaction

- Whether we are reaching a ‘tipping point’

- What is the ‘take-home’ message?

According to psychological literature, there are three psychological barriers which result in climate change inaction:

1. Denial. It’s part & parcel of being human. According to psychologists, denial is a defence mechanism which can be triggered when faced with a painful or abstract fact.