hearts over charts

This week I heard an insightful podcast interview with psychologist Per Espen Stoknes, author of the book “What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming”.

In the book and the podcast, the author lays out what he calls the climate paradox – the more we know about climate change the less convinced we are that it’s real and the less action we take to fix the problem.

In a nutshell, Per’s main point is that we’ve been doing it wrong. Scientists, the media, and chart-loving engineers like me have mostly been communicating about climate change by speaking directly to the head (our rational mind) with numbers and charts, while ignoring the heart (our feelings, tribal connections, imaginations, and love of a good story).

“We have to make the climate message more social – if you only talk about glaziers and arctic ice or polar bears or Bangladesh or Pacific Islands, it’s way far for me. But if it’s something that happens in my network with something that people that I care about. Then suddenly it feels much more near and more personal, and more– Urgent too, because it’s here and now in a way.”

Here’s to catching our hearts up with our charts.