I’m obsessed with communication, especially concerning the scientific issues.
Too many people are expressing a fierce skepticism towards the facts outlined by scientific reports and studies particularly regarding the Climate Change debate.
According to me the problem has to be found in the way this topic is explained to the public attention and that is without taking into account the psychological component of people. Technicians and experts of the field merely list the actual information resulted from their analysis because they follow a logic pattern of reasoning. But human beings’ mental process is much more complicated because of the interference of feelings, emotions and social background.
In these years of economic unsteadiness, ever more people are forced to choose between an immediate revenue for their livelihoods and their health that goes together with the conditions of the environment. It’s deceptive choice because whether they gain a fleeting financial safety they sacrifice a long-term security. Indeed it’s undeniable that our production system is irreversibly damaging ourselves and our planet. The common conception is that these two issues are separate. It’s normal to be concerned of our health and take drugs for whatever illness we have, but not or the surroundings where we live and that affect so extremely our physical and mental conditions.
We are our planet. Environmentalism is matter of survival and not an opinion or a belief. This is the truth activists fail to put on emphasis on.
Through my daily work of writing I’m attempting to fill the gap between who studied this topic (like me) and all the people whose jobs don’t involve the comprehension of it. Since everyone is brought into play.
On Friday, I read an article published by Rolling Stone about the several American citizens who are fleeing from their homes located in cities like Phoenix, Miami, Tucson, Houston...because of climate change disastrous impact on their livelihoods. In fact, besides the hurricane season has lengthened (six months), the sea-level rise is a current threat for whoever lives in the coastal areas whereas unbearable high temperatures, drought, wildfires and water scarcity are for the upper Middle West. These are human tragedies, not opinions or estimates. This is what is already happening.
[…]in many cases, the regions of the country where climate-change denial is strongest, such as the Southeast, are exactly the regions where residents have the most to lose. “In many places, climate denial is going to turn out to have big economic consequences,” Hsiang says.
Some cities and counties already feel the financial noose tightening.
Here we’re not gambling on the resilience of our environment to sustain our conventional production activities, but we’re betting on an a global economic collapse.
Climate-driven exodus is already contributing to gentrification, widening the gap between poor and vulnerable social groups and the richest niche percentage of the population and consequently inequity. It’s blatant in the European Countries, particularly Italy, where the flux of migrants from Africa is aggravating the sense of insecurity and the inner political stability leading to increasingly frequent episodes of racism and discrimination among the population. People are afraid of being displaced or forgotten by the Government because of the migration of Africans, who are seeking for shelter on our shores. But as a matter of fact, except some Ong – that are under public attack for their actions of rescue – there is no signal from the establishment in their support and to guarantee them a dignified livelihood. On the contrary, they’re recruited by our racketeering and enslaved by our ruthless, profit-driven business system.
All these issues are interconnected and an effective communication should underline these interconnections. The promises of politicians to focus on the solution of one matter at time aren’t realistic because the challenges our society has to tackle are multifaceted and this means that the solutions are to be found on different levels of these big deals.
I’m very judgmental for this kind of communication strategies deployed by politics that exploits fear and the financial lack of safety of population to increase the consensus. As well as I complain the scientific field for its reluctance to shift an exclusive and elitist communication into a more appealing and intelligible one. Moreover, it’s important to take into consideration the point of view and the social background of your audience to persuade them of the relevant impact of the exposed facts upon their life.
For instance, the case of vaquita (porpoise endemic to the northern part of the Gulf of California) which is close to extinction is exemplifying of the disastrous consequences of a lack of cooperation between fishermen, scientists and the local government resulting from contradictory campaigns of misinformation. In fact, the involvement of local communities is essential to support the job of scientists in finding sustainable, win-win solutions to preserve the ecosystem. But if scientists and local inhabitants mutually perceive themselves as enemies – instead of collaborators committed not only in safeguarding at-risk species but also in creating innovative job opportunities – it’ll impossible to establish together practices to enhance long-term wealth among the local population and biodiversity conservation of the protected area.
Basically in order to achieve a sustainable, stable development that will endure throughout the years, the urgency arises of comanagement patterns between the scientific sector and the local operators who earn their income in those specific areas, working together on eco-friendly and long-term alternatives to benefit from a healthy environment rich of biodiversity, instead of exploiting and consequently exhausting it.
Bans and warnings provoke only the exasperation of the economy of these regions afflicted by poverty. The consequent reaction of the local communities to these policies that don’t take into accounts their livelihoods is to deny the existence of the problem and hid behind any paranoid conspiracy narrative.
Personally I can’t blame whoever is mostly concerned on providing a financial safety for his/her family, instead of worrying for the detrimental impact on the ecosystem. Nevertheless I know that this is a short-sighted perspective that fails in taking into account the potential opportunities – in terms of green tourism, environmental education, marketing, circular economy facilities, etc – that natural reserves would offer whereas they are losing them. In this way, their difficult situation isn’t under the spot of the global attention that could be interested in making contributions for these projects of conservation enhancing secure jobs in this field.
In other words, according to me an effective communication by the scientific world should focus much more on the opportunities resulting from adaptation practices to the environmental conditions rather than on the threatening consequences of human productive activities upon the planet.
Because at the end if you reflect on this matter comparing it to a cancer. Which is the first, common reaction that psychologists identify in patients, who has been newly diagnosed an ominous illness like cancer? DENIAL.
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