Chelsea Green Publishing

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

Pages:320 pages
Book Art:Black and white images, charts, and graphs
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603585835
Pub. Date April 03, 2015

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming

Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action

By Per Espen Stoknes
Foreword by Jorgen Randers

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
April 03, 2015

$24.95

Why does knowing more mean believing—and doing—less? A prescription for change

The more facts that pile up about global warming, the greater the resistance to them grows, making it harder to enact measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the inevitable change ahead.

It is a catch-22 that starts, says psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes, from an inadequate understanding of the way most humans think, act, and live in the world around them. With dozens of examples—from the private sector to government agencies—Stoknes shows how to retell the story of climate change and, at the same time, create positive, meaningful actions that can be supported even by deniers.

In What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, Stoknes not only masterfully identifies the five main psychological barriers to climate action, but addresses them with five strategies for how to talk about global warming in a way that creates action and solutions, not further inaction and despair.

These strategies work with, rather than against, human nature. They are social, positive, and simple—making climate-friendly behaviors easy and convenient. They are also story-based, to help add meaning and create community, and include the use of signals, or indicators, to gauge feedback and be constantly responsive.

Whether you are working on the front lines of the climate issue, immersed in the science, trying to make policy or educate the public, or just an average person trying to make sense of the cognitive dissonance or grapple with frustration over this looming issue, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming moves beyond the psychological barriers that block progress and opens new doorways to social and personal transformation.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Choice, , winner, Outstanding Academic Title 2015-

"Stoknes (a psychologist, economist, and entrepreneur based in Norway) does not explain climate change. Rather, he illuminates barriers that prevent solving problems caused by increasing global temperatures while simultaneously giving a clear strategy to overcome these hurdles. The book's three parts—'Thinking: Understanding the Climate Paradox,' 'Doing: If It Doesn't Work, Do Something Else,’ 'Being: Inside the Living Air'—examine how people think about climate, what individuals can do to affect climate, and how one relates to environment. Each is well researched and insightful and offers powerful proposals. Stoknes explains why so many people have laissez-faire attitudes to dire predictions from the scientific community, and he reveals tactics employed by those wishing to conduct business as usual. He poses a clear blueprint for new ways to engage in global climate discussions. This reviewer notices that many journalists are adopting Stoknes’ designs—evidently his ideas are becoming mainstream. Although he successfully addresses the climate issue, it is clear that Stoknes has something bigger in mind as he expertly describes contemporary human relationships with the natural world and offers hope for a revitalized ecological link. This book will initiate a paradigm shift in thinking about and discussing climate change. Read it soon. Summing Up: Essential. All readers.” 

Library Journal-

"Norwegian psychologist and economist Stoknes (Money and Soul) has produced a work about the psychological effects of global warming messages. While accepting dire facts and projections put forth by scientists, the author argues that their usual type of presentation is counterproductive. Providing audiences with abstract but scary information requiring sacrifice has produced apathy and denial among citizens of wealthy nations, the author says. Stoknes notes that there are social barriers against discussing the situation, and it can be politically divisive. However, ethics require all of us to find valid ways to combat climate disruption, he states, adding that we need to harness ancestral human drives to this task. Messaging needs to be simple, positive, and social to lead to mass behavioral change. The author commends movements such as Transition Town, which promotes community resilience and explains that the many inspiring stories about green innovation can help shift public attitudes over time. VERDICT: Stoknes has done a service for readers alarmed or concerned about global warming. He provides helpful strategies for accepting and dealing with their own reactions to the evidence, reducing carbon footprints, and influencing others to do likewise.”

Publishers Weekly-

Stoknes (Money and Soul), a Norwegian psychologist and economist, addresses the polarized American debate over anthropogenic climate change, observing how it has devolved into 'a deteriorating and desperate spiral.' In this earnest and well-organized volume, he introduces a new aspect to the discussion, focusing not on the phenomenon’s causes or consequences, but people’s responses to it, including how they think, what they do, and how they live in the world. Stoknes puts a cognitive-psychological spin on the matter at hand and differentiates among climate 'skeptics,' ‘contrarians,' and 'deniers,' distinguishing active and passive forms of denial. He also looks at evolutionary self-interest and the ways in which people can use social networks to further their goals. People like to believe their actions matter, he notes, and a solution is more likely to be implemented 'when people want it, like it, love it,' not when they are guilted or shamed into it. The more people 'see happy others conserve energy ... the more they are inclined to support ambitious climate policies on local, state, and national levels.' Framing the argument in this manner, Stoknes effectively combines talk of social psychology with environmental activism.”

"Stoknes offers expert insights, drawn from the discipline of psychology and the art of storytelling, to the high-stakes quandary of our time: Why the response to climate change has not, yet, come close to matching the overwhelming magnitude and sophistication of the scientific evidence. He peels away the multiple layers of passivity-inducing narratives, and demonstrates how avoiding climate caricatures—apocalypse on one hand, ecotopia on the other—is the most effective way to prompt action. His alternative narratives, highlighting the many co-benefits of a switch away from fossil fuels, suggest a broad common ground across the ideological spectrum.”--Mark Schapiro, author of Carbon Shock: A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front Lines of a Disrupted Global Economy

"Science is no longer the bottleneck to action on climate change. Why do we so often ignore, deny, and resist the science? Why aren’t we outraged, demanding change? In a style both rigorous and personal, Per Espen Stoknes explains why, and more importantly, offers strategies for success. A pleasure to read, this book can help us all become more understanding, more committed, more effective—and, along the way, more joyful."--John Sterman, professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World

"Mahatma Gandhi said 'First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.' We’re in this last phase but to win we need to change tactics, from using guilt to draw attention to instead using persuasion to change behavior and policy at a mass scale. Per Espen Stoknes shows the way with this brilliant description of how to go with rather than against the flow of human nature and thus shift society to action. There is no more important challenge facing society today and Stoknes's contribution is crucial.”--Paul Gilding, author of The Great Disruption

"How, most effectively, to communicate the reality and ramifications of a slow-motion planetary meltdown? Whether you are a scientist or a CEO, an activist or a slacker, this book provides a simple toolkit for breaking down frozen attitudes. As a work that surveys a great deal of psychological research, it's at once accessible, practical, and – in its last third – richly reflective and evocative. In these concluding chapters Stoknes wrestles eloquently with the ways in which earthly calamity reverberates and sometimes wreaks havoc in any person’s innermost sense of self and meaning."--David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous 

"In a fresh and intimate voice Per Espen Stoknes navigates the obstacles and collective denial of  climate change. Drawing on his own deep love of nature he suggests ways to overcome our ‘Deep Grief’ by creating a spiritual connection with the air around us. In every way this is a book full of new perspectives and insights."--George Marshall, author of Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

"Combining an entrepreneur’s innovation with an economist’s analytics and a psychologist’s knowledge of human behavior, Per Espen Stoknes gives us a much-needed guide to moving beyond the politics and paralysis that generally cripple action on climate change, and provides us with concrete ways to inspire grounded hope for real climate solutions”--Heidi Cullen, chief scientist, Climate Central

"The human brain is poorly equipped to cope with mind-numbing problems like climate change. Per Espen Stoknes tell us why—and then explains what we can do to change the way we think, act, and live. Highly recommended."--John Elkington, cofounder of Volans, SustainAbility, and Environmental Data Services (ENDS), and coauthor of The Breakthrough Challenge

"If information enlightened, then effective climate policies would have been put in place two decades ago, after the second IPCC assessment. The recent, massive fifth assessment enlightens only a teeny bit more. Stoknes’ small, powerful, readable book enables us to build the social networks that will lead to action and change our old stories, the blinders that comfort so many along our path to destruction. Read it, get to work, and find joy in being effective."--Richard B. Norgaard, coauthor of The Climate Challenge Society and professor emeritus, University of California at Berkeley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Per Espen Stoknes

Per Espen Stoknes is a psychologist and an economist. An entrepreneur, he has cofounded clean-energy companies, and he spearheads the BI Norwegian Business School’s executive program on green growth. He has previously worked both as a clinical and organizational psychologist and as an advisor in scenario planning to a wide range of major national and international businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit institutions. His research interests include climate and environmental strategies, economic psychology, and energy systems. Teaching areas include green growth, foresight and corporate strategy, behavioral economics and expressive arts. He has written three books, including Money and Soul. He lives in Oslo, Norway.

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Climate Psychology & Solutions - Per Espen Stoknes

Climate Psychology & Solutions - Per Espen Stoknes

The Psychologicial Climate Paradox: From Challenge to Change (Jan-2014)

The Psychologicial Climate Paradox: From Challenge to Change (Jan-2014)

Why Climate and Psychology? (Oct-2012)

Why Climate and Psychology? (Oct-2012)

TEDGlobal - How To Transform Apocalypse Fatigue Into Action On Global Warming

The biggest obstacle to dealing with climate disruptions lies between your ears, says psychologist and economist Per Espen Stokes. He's spent years studying the defenses we use to avoid thinking about the demise of our planet -- and figuring out a new way of talking about global warming that keeps us from shutting down. Step away from the doomsday narratives and learn how to make caring for the earth feel personable, do-able and empowering with this fun, informative talk.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The New Feminist Agenda

The New Feminist Agenda

By Madeleine Kunin

Feminists opened up thousands of doors in the 1960s and 1970s, but decades later, are U.S. women where they thought they'd be? The answer, it turns out, is a resounding no. Surely there have been gains. Women now comprise nearly 60 percent of college undergraduates and half of all medical and law students. They have entered the workforce in record numbers, making the two-wage-earner family the norm. But combining a career and family turned out to be more complicated than expected. While women changed, social structures surrounding work and family remained static. Affordable and high-quality child care, paid family leave, and equal pay for equal work remain elusive for the vast majority of working women. In fact, the nation has fallen far behind other parts of the world on the gender-equity front. We lag behind more than seventy countries when it comes to the percentage of women holding elected federal offices. Only 17 percent of corporate boards include women members. And just 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women.

It's time, says Madeleine M. Kunin, to change all that. Looking back over five decades of advocacy, she analyzes where progress stalled, looks at the successes of other countries, and charts the course for the next feminist revolution--one that mobilizes women, and men, to call for the kind of government and workplace policies that can improve the lives of women and strengthen their families.

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

Read More

The New Feminist Agenda

Madeleine Kunin

Paperback $17.95

The Social Profit Handbook

The Social Profit Handbook

By David Grant

How to Articulate and Assess What Success Looks Like

The Social Profit Handbook offers those who lead, govern, and support mission-driven organizations and businesses new ways to assess their impact in order to improve future work rather than merely judge past performance.  

For-profit institutions measure their success primarily by monetary gains. But nonprofit institutions are different; they aim for social profit. How do you measure the success of these social profit institutions, where missions are focused on the well-being of people, place, and planet?

Drawing upon decades of leadership in schools and the foundation and nonprofit worlds, author David Grant offers strategies—from creating mission time to planning backwards to constructing qualitative assessment rubrics—that help organizations take assessment back into their own hands, and improve their work as a result. His insights, illustrated by numerous case studies, make this book a unique organizational development tool for a wide range of nonprofit organizations, as well as emerging mission-based social venture businesses, such as low-profit corporations and B Corps.

The Social Profit Handbook presentsassessment and evaluation not as ends in themselves but as the path toward achieving what matters most in the social sector. The result: more benefits to society and stronger, more unified, more effective organizations prepared to make the world a better place.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Social Profit Handbook

David Grant

Paperback $20.00

Nuclear Roulette

Nuclear Roulette

By Gar Smith

Nuclear power is not clean, cheap, or safe. With Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, the nuclear industry's record of catastrophic failures now averages one major disaster every decade. After three US-designed plants exploded in Japan, many countries moved to abandon reactors for renewables. In the United States, however, powerful corporations and a compliant government still defend nuclear power-while promising billion-dollar bailouts to operators.

Each new disaster demonstrates that the nuclear industry and governments lie to "avoid panic," to preserve the myth of "safe, clean" nuclear power, and to sustain government subsidies. Tokyo and Washington both covered up Fukushima's radiation risks and-when confronted with damning evidence-simply raised the levels of "acceptable" risk to match the greater levels of exposure.

Nuclear Roulette dismantles the core arguments behind the nuclear-industrial complex's "Nuclear Renaissance." While some critiques are familiar-nuclear power is too costly, too dangerous, and too unstable-others are surprising: Nuclear Roulette exposes historic links to nuclear weapons, impacts on Indigenous lands and lives, and the ways in which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission too often takes its lead from industry, rewriting rules to keep failing plants in compliance. Nuclear Roulette cites NRC records showing how corporations routinely defer maintenance and lists resulting "near-misses" in the US, which average more than one per month.

Nuclear Roulette chronicles the problems of aging reactors, uncovers the costly challenge of decommissioning, explores the industry's greatest seismic risks-not on California's quake-prone coast but in the Midwest and Southeast-and explains how solar flares could black out power grids, causing the world's 400-plus reactors to self-destruct. This powerful exposé concludes with a roundup of proven and potential energy solutions that can replace nuclear technology with a "Renewable Renaissance," combined with conservation programs that can cleanse the air, and cool the planet.

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

Read More

Nuclear Roulette

Gar Smith, Ernest Callenbach, Jerry Mander

Paperback $19.95

Angels by the River

Angels by the River

By James Gustave Speth

Reflections on race, environment, politics, and living on the front lines of change

In Angels by the River, James Gustave "Gus" Speth recounts his unlikely path from a southern boyhood through his years as one of the nation's most influential mainstream environmentalists and eventually to the system-changing activism that shapes his current work. Born and raised in an idyllic but racially divided town that later became the scene of South Carolina's horrific Orangeburg Massacre, Speth explores how the civil rights movement and the South's agrarian roots shaped his later work in the heyday of the environmental movement, when he founded two landmark environmental groups, fought for the nation's toughest environmental laws, spearheaded programs in the United Nations, advised the White House, and moved into a leading academic role as dean of Yale's prestigious School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Yet, in the end, he arrived somewhere quite unexpected–still believing change is possible, but not within the current political and economic system. Throughout this compelling memoir, Speth intertwines three stories–his own, his hometown's, and his country's–focusing mainly on his early years and the lessons he drew from them, and his later years, in which he comes full circle in applying those lessons. In the process he invites others to join him politically at or near the place at which he has arrived, wherever they may have started.

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

Read More

Angels by the River

James Gustave Speth

Hardcover $25.00