Cassandra: Thoughts on Climate and Credulity from a Hong Kong Activist

8 thoughts on “Cassandra: Thoughts on Climate and Credulity from a Hong Kong Activist”

  1. Link to this article takes me to a blank page. I look forward to your stories and links. Travel safely Forest. Cathy (El SALVADOR friend of your mom. )

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Michael–I have been thinking about the metaphor of Cassandra and the Trojan horse all week. It is interesting to me that your experience in Hong Kong seems similar to that in the U.S. The science is clear. We can see the changes with our own eyes, yet there is denial of the obvious. It is somehow so much easier to become outraged at a dentist killing a lion than the human race causing the demise of multiple species. Keep up your good work. Maybe if we all keep talking, and join voices from multiple nations, more people will listen and see, and maybe make the changes we so desperately need. Lauren


    1. Thank you, Lauren. I believe this has to do with the psychological aspects of human being. Unless you are a highly abstract thinker, most people are rather concrete thinkers. By that I mean they are emotionally aroused by things that are of direct connection to them. Their attention goes to people immediately around them, things they can visualize see at present, instead of abstract theories in the distant future around the world. Adding to the discomfort they have to experience by acknowledging the situation seriously, and the diffusion of responsibility effect on this issue (refer to the uncertainty of who should act under an ambiguous situation, resulting in nobody taking action), it is not hard to understand why they act as if it doesn’t concern them. It has to take a lot of abstract thinking, forward thinking ability to imagine beyond their present environment to get the emotion in. Unfortunately this is not what most people are.


      1. I think you definitely have a point, but it seems important to me to not reduce human beings to machine-like simplifications. I don’t know if we can make such a simple divide between the privileged “forward-thinkers” and the unenlightened masses. The most important questions that come up for me turn toward solutions: How did the people who are concerned about climate change get to where they are? Can engage with people that replicates this turn toward long-term thinking? How can we get people invested in this kind of thinking? If it is too difficult to push people in that direction, what other ways can we come up with to engage people?

        Engaging with people on these issues can be really difficult. As you say, they’re big and scary and still seemingly far-off. I’ve found that by telling my own story and asking questions about others’ relationships with climate change–how their homes are being affected, what they know about the issues, being genuinely interested in their opinions and feelings–I can get a genuine response out of them. People open up a little, and from what I’ve seen, they do tend to have strong feelings on the issues–sometimes those feelings are just held at arms length. It’s not the star-struck conversion that an activist dreams of, but it seems to bring people closer to an understanding of the issue, and if nothing else it keeps climate change on people’s minds.

        Just some brief thoughts, I hope to have the time to elaborate a more in-depth post about these issues. They’re fascinating to me, and a big part of why I’m working on 360bybike.


  3. Many who deny the severity of climate change seem to demand that predictions of disaster need to be certain before nations make the changes necessary to prevent the disaster. This does not seem rational to me. In many aspects of life, we have to make decisions based on probability rather than certainty. If I have a child come into my clinic with a high fever, ill appearance, and a characteristic rash, I treat the child emergently for meningococcemia. I do not have time to wait for the blood culture results to verify the diagnosis. The child would probably die if I waited for these results. With all of the evidence we have now, we know that life as we know it is on this earth is like this ill child. We need to act now to prevent its death.


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