Inconvenient Mind: paper on the climate mind and the polycrisis

Inconvenient Mind paper on the climate mind and the polycrisis

Mindworks, Greenpeace’s cognitive science team, has released their Inconvenient Mind paper on the climate mind and the polycrisis, arguing in times of growing uncertainty, fear and anger we need to move away from facts and seriously start listening and engaging with emotions:

For more than 40 years, scientists have been advocating that the psychological impacts of both global heating and the way it is reported need to be considered when designing campaigns to change people’s perceptions, attitudes and behaviours around this issue.

Such cultural change is critical to create the shift society needs to prevent climate havoc.

There is an increasing agreement among psychologists around why humans have such difficulties in responding to a highly likely future catastrophe. Yet, their knowledge is largely ignored, even by those who praise and preach the facts of climate science.

The Inconvenient Mind helps tackle this, taking you from an introduction to the key theories, what it means in the wider context and how you can put it into practice.

When talking about psychology, we are not only talking about our audience’s psyche; we also have to consider our own minds and the mechanisms that influence our decisions. For example, why we prefer to avoid talking about the climate crisis at a family reunion, but more on this later under the chapter on climate silence. Dealing with psychology requires the humility to accept that we are not the masters of our minds. It also requires compassion for ourselves and others as the mind is an ancient and tricky creature designed to keep us alive and happy, even if this means meddling with the truth.

Reading this from the perspective of “Where am I on this?” is as useful as reading it from the standpoint of “What does this mean for my work?”

Related to this, Mindworks also just got the results of their Anger Monitor survey, looking at the levels of anger and agency in six countries.

To give you a quick flavour of the results, Mindworks found a direct link between climate anger and climate action, and found a large group of people with what they call “Constructive” anger in each country but also found high levels of existing worry and powerlessness across the board.

You can find out more about what this means and see Mindworks recommendations here

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