“One psychological response to climate change is to find language and images that create distance – to suggest that it will affect someone else in the future. So the talk and images are of ‘climate’ not ‘weather’, polar bears not hedgehogs, African children not our own.
‘The Planet’ is about as distant as one can get – I am not being called on to save my family, my community, my country, my world or even my Earth. It is The Planet – a lump of cold rock seen from space. I’ll be honest – I don’t give a damn about ‘The Planet’ – it means nothing to me.”
George raises other noteworthy points in the rest of his blog post, which is worth reading.
A related issue (which I’ve raised here — albeit without editing my comment carefully enough) -
People often imply that global warming will only harm arctic wildlife — and particularly polar bears.
That view is conveyed by these protestors, for instance:
How many people will commit to dramatically restructuring their lives and our society in order to save polar bears (and penguins and seals — not to mention less familiar arctic wildlife)?
Very few of us will do so — and the blog post exerpt above indicates why this is the case. Although it’s downright tragic that we are wiping out polar bears and other animals in the arctic, most people are not apt to care much about these distant creatures.
As usual, a radical message — in this case, about how we need to dramatically reshape our way of life in response to global warming — has been watered down.
The phrase “climate change” likewise is a less threatening alternative to talk about “global warming” (or, to be more precise, “global warming and related climate changes.”) And neither of these terms are as dramatic as Joseph Romm’s phrase “hell and high water,” which hasn’t caught on (yet). People aren’t about to flock to this more frightening way of framing global warming, and George’s post–the one quoted above — sheds light on this as well.