A conversation about climate: “How we got here and where to now?”

Summary:

  • In this talk, Bill McKibben interviews Sally Wientrobe regarding some of the key concepts in her new book: Psychological Roots of the Climate Crisis.
  • Weintrobe distinguishes between two different types of cultures: a culture of care premised off selves that wish to follow their curiosity, learn about belonging, mutual understanding, to love and be loved both socially, individually and in place, and a culture of uncare characterised by an avoidance of uncomfortable realities, denial and minimising which is sustained by a false entitlement.
  • In cultures of uncare, psychological entitlement (entitlement to not be troubled, entitlement to have a good life, entitlement to have all the things one wants) is at the centre of denialism. 
  • Exceptionalism largely features in Western political strategies and responses to the climate crisis. McKibben and Weintrobe argue that exceptionalism protects neoliberalism as a superior to other models of economy and governance and impedes climate governance from challenging the core root of the issue: the entitlement complex.
  • Weintrobe and McKibben also acknowledge the growing consciousness around cultures of care, especially amongst young people. 
  • It is clear from the two academics that understanding the psychological underpinnings of our disregard for genuine climate action can help us to perceive and act differently. Cultures of uncare are individual and focused on gratification. But cultures of care call for an understanding of self that is woven into a larger web of interconnectedness and taking the longer, less linear or static path towards sustaining harmony. Listen to the full talk here (scroll down the page to find the video).

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