What's In Your Finite Pool Of Worry?

Yesterday Roadkill made the following point in a comment:

"Funny how this all works. Seems like anytime there is a significant global warming meeting, rally, cor conference, mother nature sends a reality check."

Last night, as the first blizzard of the 2009-2010 winter was raging outside my window, I read a newspaper articles that provide parallel insight into RK's comment. This morning is I type this before I go out to shovel my driveway and the dog's kennel out and I think about a History Channel video I watched last night titled "A Global Warning!" The documentary looked back over the past 650 million years and reminded me the way things were and they way they will be.

I'm sure I care about the future of our planet, but as the article discussed below points out, we have a "finite pool of worry."

"We are collectively irrational, in the sense that we should really care about the long-term well-being of the planet but when we get up in the morning it's very hard to motivate ourselves."

Dan Ariely
Professor of behavioral economics
Duke University

"...Psychologists studying the issue say that the now-familiar warnings about climate change kick at emotional dead spots in all human brains -- but especially in American brains. Researchers have only theories to explain why people in the United States have done less than those in such places as Europe and Japan. Some think Americans are culturally leery of programs that the government might develop to target climate change, trusting instead that the free market will solve major problems..."

"...One U.S. researcher thought television is to blame: All those TV ads have made Americans more focused on their own wants, she theorized, and less likely to care about the long-term good...But the obstacles to progress -- internationally and in the U.S. Senate, where a climate bill is stalled -- aren't just mental...Climate change is a policy problem that has "psychological distance": In layman's terms, there's a sense that this is a problem for somebody else or some other time..."

Read Save the planet? It's irrational at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Simply urging people -- or telling them that it's a good idea to recycle or conserve energy -- is the same as nothing."

Robert Cialdini
Arizona State University Professor

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