The fact that we all strive to reduce psychologically inconsistent thoughts is a well-researched phenomenon. When we hold two conflicting thoughts in our heads we feel an overwhelming desire to reduce this conflict. This desire can be a powerful driver in the way we behave. Most of us are aware at some level that if we took the threat of climate change seriously we would need to completely change our routines and the way we behave. Flying off on holiday would be out of the question. Swimming pools would be a past luxury. Most of us would need to give up our cars and become vegetarians. The list can be extended almost endlessly. Very often, subconsciously, we try to reduce troubling and inconvenient facts by minimizing, ignoring or even by denying them. Could this be why we hardly talk about climate change even in the face of increasingly frequent extreme weather events and obvious signs that it is occurring now?
This subject needs to be openly talked about between us and in the press. The seriousness of global warming makes it a necessity. Only when this happens will politicians have the space and incentive to act on our behalf. But before this can happen we need to be aware of the reason why we avoid talking about this subject – this graph tries to illustrate the harmful dynamic that could be responsible for it.