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The Psychological Ramifications Of Global Environmental Change

978 words - 4 pages

It is difficult to find an issue with greater global implications than environmental change. It sounds simplistic but environment is everywhere. In fact one can correlate everything we do, feel, and experience with our environment. Whether we like it or not or believe it or not our environment has been changed significantly with a likely anthropogenic component, since mankind has been in existence. It is well understood that this man-made influence has primarily been in the past few hundred years, correlating with our desire for scientific knowledge, thirst for industrial expansion and insatiable desire for progress. From history one can point out various events or topics that have some ...view middle of the document...

Considering that doomsday scenarios are played out ad nauseam in media and popular culture and have been for years it is no wonder there is an ever increasing anxiety surrounding subjects like environmental change (Weber and Stern, 2011). In fact it is understandable. Of course this constant spinning of end-of-the-world outcomes is our own hardly something we can blame on anyone else. Between self appointed gurus making dire predictions and our naïve assimilation of them into our daily lives it is likely we will not see society as a whole move toward a more positive attitude. H.G. Wells is attributed as saying that “The end of everything we call life is close at hand and cannot be evaded”. He was not alone in believing, based on current events in the 1930s and 1940s that the world could very well be in its last days (Gardner, 2011). The problem is that that these so called experts continue to make predictions and Gardner further stated that these are rarely if at all positive predictions. Oddly though, the track record of these predictions is rather poor.
` It is difficult to quantify but history is replete with examples of predictions that have not panned out (Gardner, 2011). The most famous perhaps, relative to the environment, is from Paul Ehrlich who stated in 1968 that “the battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines – hundreds of millions of people will starve to death…” (Ehrlich, 1968, p. xi). Not only was he incorrect regarding that prediction but according to Gardner (2011), Ehrlich continues to make predictive assertions with similar results, adding to our collective societal anxiety. The psychological outcome of these failed yet persistent predictions of potential looming disaster is expected to manifest itself in a variety of ways (Doherty and Clayton, 2011). Similar to specific natural disasters like flooding or tornadoes, environmental change is likely to cause...

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