What is our limit?

What is our limit?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Human Behaviour

We have been warned: "Average global temperatures are expected to increase by 2°F to 11.5°F by 2100." 
The ultimate increase in temperature by 2100 would then depend on us, on whether we choose to fight against climate change or be apathetic towards it. I recently chanced upon an article named ' Your brain on climate change: why the threat produces apathy, not action', which gave me insight on why humans tend to neglect, or rather turn away from one of the largest issues we face today; climate change. Below is an extract from the article which i found interesting: 

For one thing, human brains aren’t wired to respond easily to large, slow-moving threats.
“Our brain is essentially a get-out-of-the-way machine,” Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard best known for his research into happiness, told audiences at Harvard Thinks Big 2010. “That’s why we can duck a baseball in milliseconds.”
While we have come to dominate the planet because of such traits, he said, threats that develop over decades rather than seconds circumvent the brain’s alarm system. “Many environmentalists say climate change is happening too fast. No, it’s happening too slowly. It’s not happening nearly quickly enough to get our attention.”
That may seem to be true. Though aware of climate change, people seem to assume that it is none of their business, as if the future generations are responsible for our problems. This is something which i find very troubling and i wish i could change.
Even with constant reminders around to alert us that the world is dying in our hands, we still see instances where people forget (or do they?) to switch off their electrical appliances. In 1st world countries, many are enjoying the comforts of private transport even though governments and environmental groups strongly encourage public transport to be taken instead. The emergence of a throw-away society also deeply troubles me, seeing how everyone is strongly influenced by consumerism. 

Personally, staying in one of the halls in NUS, i'm glad that there are stickers and small posters around the hall reminding us to bathe within a span of 5 minutes, or prompting us to switch off our lights and fans when they're not in use.
Yet, these reminders don't seem to be enough to instil environmentally-friendly mindsets in people. I still see my hall mates unwilling to turn off their lights and fans even when they're not in use, while others take long showers in the bathroom, unconcerned about the repercussions of their actions.

How do we cut down on energy wastage, especially for people who are used to the idea of comfort and luxury? Why have we failed to change people's behaviour, even with so many environmental campaigns and posters? How do i, and how do we start making a change? 

On a happier note, i'll be regularly updating this blog with my personal opinions/interesting articles or pictures that i chance upon. Thank you for reading! 

NRC (2010). Advancing the Science of Climate Change  National Research Council. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Greg Harman (10/11/2014) Your brain on climate change: why the threat produces apathy, not action .  The Guardian

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