What we think about when we try not to think about global warming Toward a new psychology of climate action

Per Espen Stoknes

Book - 2015

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 304.25/Stoknes Checked In
White River Junction, Vermont : Chelsea Green Publishing [2015]
Main Author
Per Espen Stoknes (author)
Physical Description
xxi, 290 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 251-275) and index.
  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Battering One Another
  • Part I. Thinking: Understanding the Climate Paradox
  • 1. The Psychological Climate Paradox
  • 2. "Climate Is the New Marx": The Many Faces of Skepticism and Denial
  • 3. The Human Animal, as Seen by Evolutionary Psychology
  • 4. How Climate Facts and Risks Are Perceived: Cognitive Psychology
  • 5. What Others Are Saying: Social Psychology
  • 6. The Roots of Denial: The Psychology of Identity
  • 7. The Five Psychological Barriers to Climate Action
  • Part II. Doing If It Doesn't Work, Do Something Else
  • 8. From Barriers to Solutions
  • 9. The Power of Social Networks
  • 10. Refraining the Climate Messages
  • 11. Make It Simple to Choose Right
  • 12. Use the Power of Stories to Re-Story Climate
  • 13. New Signals of Progress
  • Part III. Being Inside the Living Air
  • 14. The Air's Way of Being
  • 15. Stand Up for Your Depression!
  • 16. Climate Disruption as Symptom: What Is It Trying to Tell Us?
  • 17. Re-Imagining Climate as the Living Air
  • 18. ItÆs Hopeless and I'll Give It My All
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Review by Choice Review

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. --Michael Schaab, Maine Maritime Academy

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

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.-David R. Conn, -formerly with Surrey Libs., BC © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.