Psychologists describe climate change as precisely the kind of problem that our brains are programmed to switch off from. On Thursday 28th April, Adrian Tait, co-founder of Climate Psychology Alliance and chair of Transition Athelney on the Somerset Levels, described his personal journey to facing the issues involved and facilitated a discussion on the provocative video clip How to Talk to a Climate Denier (George Marshall, YouTube). He was effective in encouraging the audience to participate and there was a broad consensus that “denial” is now less of a problem than is “turning a blind eye”. He guided the conversation towards a deeper level of reflection on which he helped maintain the discomforting tension between facile over-optimism and hopeless despair.
In fact, wrestling together with some unusually difficult thoughts turned out to be not just intellectually stimulating but ultimately inspiring, thereby demonstrating George Marshall’s thesis that identifying and highlighting the rewards involved in making tough changes should always be a part of our communication strategy.