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)

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The Art of Leading Collectively

The Art of Leading Collectively

By Petra Kuenkel

A guide to collaborative impact for leaders in industry, government, and social change networks

Our world is facing unsustainable global trends—from climate change and water scarcity to energy insecurity, unfair labor practices, and growing inequality.  Tackling these crises effectively requires a new form of leadership—a collective one.  But, in a world of many silos, how do we get people to work together toward a common goal? That is one of the most important questions facing sustainability and social-change professionals around the world, and it is a question that Petra Kuenkel answers in The Art of Leading Collectively

Readers learn how to tackle system change for sustainable development, reimagine leadership as a collaborative endeavor, retrain leaders to work collectively, and manage diverse groups through a change process that has sustainability as a guiding focus. Drawing upon two decades of pioneering, internationally recognized work orchestrating multi-stakeholder initiatives, Kuenkel presents her chief tool, the Collective Leadership Compass, and shows others how to use it with large groups of diverse stakeholders to solve complex, urgent problems—particularly those that enmesh business activities, governance, human needs, and environmental impacts.

The book offers many examples of collective leadership efforts involving corporate, public, and nonprofit sectors around the world. Readers learn about the processes that led to a sustainable textile alliance and set standards for sustainable cocoa and coffee production and trade, as well as those that helped nations rebound from war, develop sustainable infrastructure, and tackle resource conflicts with global businesses, to name a few.

Kuenkel provides a clear roadmap for leaders from multinational companies involved in partnerships, international organizations engaged in cooperative development, public agencies, and interest groups—as well as for citizens seeking solutions to social and sustainability challenge

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

The Art of Leading Collectively

Petra Kuenkel, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker

Hardcover $29.95

The Chelsea Green Reader

The Chelsea Green Reader

Chelsea Green, the Vermont-based independent publisher, has always had a nose for authors and subjects that are way ahead of the cultural curve, as is evident in this new anthology celebrating the company’s first thirty years in publishing.


The more than one hundred books represented in this collection reflect the many distinct areas in which we have published–from literature and memoirs to progressive politics, to highly practical books on green building, organic gardening and farming, food and health, and related subjects–all of which reflect our underlying philosophy: "The politics and practice of sustainable living." The Chelsea Green Reader offers a glimpse into our wide-ranging list of books and authors and to the important ideas that they express. Interesting and worth reading in their own right, the individual passages when taken as a whole trace the evolution of a highly successful small publisher–something that is almost an oxymoron in these days of corporate buyouts and multinational book groups.
From the beginning, Chelsea Green's books were nationally recognized, garnering positive reviews, accolades, and awards. We’ve published four New York Times bestsellers, and our books have set the standard for in-depth, how-to books that remain relevant years–often decades–beyond their original publication date.


"Chelsea Green was born from a single seed: the beauty of craft. Craft in writing and editing, in a story well told, or a thesis superbly expressed," writes cofounder and publisher emeritus Ian Baldwin in the book's foreword. Today, craft continues to inform all aspects of our work–design, illustration, production, sales, promotion, and beyond. It has even informed our business model: In 2012, Chelsea Green became an employee-owned company.

With the rise of the Internet, new media platforms, and a constantly shifting bookselling landscape, the future of publishing is anything but predictable. But if Chelsea Green's books prove anything, it is that, despite these challenges, there remains a hunger for new and important ideas and authors, and for the permanence and craftsmanship of the printed word. Today our ongoing mission is stronger than ever, as we launch into our next thirty years of publishing excellence.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Chelsea Green Reader

Ben Watson, Ian Baldwin

Paperback $15.00

Slow Democracy

Slow Democracy

By Susan Clark and Woden Teachout

Reconnecting with the sources of decisions that affect us, and with the processes of democracy itself, is at the heart of 21st-century sustainable communities.

Slow Democracy chronicles the ways in which ordinary people have mobilized to find local solutions to local problems. It invites us to bring the advantages of "slow" to our community decision making. Just as slow food encourages chefs and eaters to become more intimately involved with the production of local food, slow democracy encourages us to govern ourselves locally with processes that are inclusive, deliberative, and citizen powered.

Susan Clark and Woden Teachout outline the qualities of real, local decision making and show us the range of ways that communities are breathing new life into participatory democracy around the country. We meet residents who seize back control of their municipal water systems from global corporations, parents who find unique solutions to seemingly divisive school-redistricting issues, and a host of other citizens across the nation who have designed local decision-making systems to solve the problems unique to their area in ways that work best for their communities.

Though rooted in the direct participation that defined our nation's early days, slow democracy is not a romantic vision for reigniting the ways of old. Rather, the strategies outlined here are uniquely suited to 21st-century technologies and culture.If our future holds an increased focus on local food, local energy, and local economy, then surely we will need to improve our skills at local governance as well.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Slow Democracy

Susan Clark, Woden Teachout

Paperback $24.95

Bye Bye, Miss American Empire

Bye Bye, Miss American Empire

By Bill Kauffman

It's been almost a century and a half since a critical mass of Americans believed that secession was an American birthright. But breakaway movements large and small are rising up across the nation. From Vermont to Alaska, activists driven by all manner of motives want to form new states-and even new nations.

So, just what's happening out there? The American Empire is dying, says Bill Kauffman in this incisive, eye-opening investigation into modern-day secession-the next radical idea poised to enter mainstream discourse. And those rising up to topple that empire are a surprising mix of conservatives, liberals, regionalists, and independents who-from movement to movement-may share few political beliefs but who have one thing in common: a sense that our nation has grown too large, and too powerfully centralized, to stay true to its founding principles.

Bye Bye, Miss American Empire traces the historical roots of the secessionist spirit, and introduces us to the often radical, sometimes quixotic, and highly charged movements that want to decentralize and re-localize power.

During the George W. Bush administration, frustrated liberals talked secession back to within hailing distance of the margins of national debate, a place it had not occupied since 1861. Now, secessionist voices on the left and right and everywhere in between are amplifying. Writes Kauffman, "The noise is the sweet hum of revolution, of subjects learning how to be citizens, of people shaking off . . . their Wall Street and Pentagon overlords and taking charge of their lives once more."

Engaging, illuminating, even sometimes troubling, Bye Bye, Miss American Empire is a must-read for those taking the pulse of the nation.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Bye Bye, Miss American Empire

Bill Kauffman

Paperback $17.95