Why rational argument will only take you so far…
Every so often (more often than I’d like to admit) I check the Amazon pages for my two books for new reviews, sales figures etc. Earlier this week I was shocked to see The Three Secrets of Green Business had got a one star review when all the others have been 4 or 5. But my surprise turned into a resigned sinking feeling when I saw the review consisted of the usual old climate denial nonsense:
“So we all now agree that CO2 emissions must be reduced to save the planet? Not really, most of the world disagrees with the theory […wrong…] The earth has been cooling for the last decade for example, contrary to the IPCC conclusions […wrong…] Much of the book is thus based on false assumptions, and the rest is simply managerial mumbo-jumbo. Don’t buy this work, and save your hard earned cash for a better book.”
Even worse, it is out of date denial nonsense – the denialosphere has quietly dropped the “global cooling” meme as long term temperature trends continued to rise and now talks about “slow warming” instead. Looking at other reviews by the Truth Hound (as he dubs himself), he appears to be on a mission to give ‘green’ books one star reviews with lengthy but scientifically illiterate rants about climate change science. Intrigued, I googled his name and he’s certainly not stupid. He’s got a PhD in engineering and lectures for the Open University, so you would think that, in his dogged search for truth, he would respect academic evidence over tired myths he’s found on the internet or reactionary newspaper columns. But no.
Immediately I thought of the cartoon above I recently saw online – we all have issues where our beliefs are based on voodoo rather than rationale analysis of the evidence. This goes for the green movement as well, factions of which are just as guilty of denying the scientific evidence on, say, GM or nuclear safety as the libertarian right is in denying the evidence on climate change or passive smoking.
This is why I use the elephant-rider-path model of culture change for sustainability. We like to think we are rational (the rider), but it is our emotional subconscious (the elephant) which tends to make the final decision. Getting the elephant on board is the key to successful culture change and that takes a lot more guile.
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