For example, the statement “Climate change could be irreversible by 2030” is alarming & has the potential to trigger overwhelming emotions. Instead of experiencing these emotions, an individual might go into denial as a way of coping. By doing so, they reject the reality of the fact, even if there is overwhelming & irrefutable evidence. After all, as some say - ’ignorance is bliss!’
2. Resistance to change. We all have our own specific routines & that is completely normal - humans are creatures of habit. By having a routine, it means:
A) We need to make fewer daily decisions
B) We feel more in control
However, certain routines are having a negative impact on our planet. For these reasons, climate activists are encouraging us to consciously change aspects of our lifestyles such as, our diet, reducing our carbon footprint & buying sustainably. But for some people, even the prospect of change can trigger emotional anxiety; these individuals tend to continue with their daily routines - believing that the need to change will eventually disappear.
3. Feeling powerless. To some extent, we have all contributed towards climate change. But, some will argue that making individual changes is simply pointless because it is only through collective action that we have hit climate crisis.
Therefore, individual action is only a ‘drop in the ocean’ when set against the huge systemic changes that are required to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Some, simply believe that a single person’s contribution is irrelevant. This belief helps the individual to justify climate change inaction.
However, it is not all doom & gloom! Psychologists argue that we are now starting to see a ‘tipping point’ in peoples attitudes towards climate change. For example, an Ipsos MORI survey showed that 85% of adults registered a concern about climate change - the highest figure since the poll was first taken in 2005.
So, what’s changing?