Earth to Humans: Why Have You Forsaken Me? Sunk Costs

What are the psychological roadblocks that explain why we’re not doing much to solve global climate change—a phenomenon that threatens the core of our society? This is the fourth post in a seven-part series.

Earth to Humans: Why Have You Forsaken Me? Poor Comparisons

What are the psychological roadblocks that explain why we’re not doing much to solve global climate change—a phenomenon that threatens the core of our society? This is the third post in a seven-part series.

Earth to Humans: Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? Ideologies

What are the psychological roadblocks that explain why we’re not doing much to solve global climate change—a phenomenon that threatens the core of our society? This is the second post in a seven-part series.

Earth to Humans: Why Have You Forsaken Me? Cognition

What are the psychological roadblocks that explain why we’re not trying hard at all to solve global climate change—a phenomenon that threatens the core of our society? The first post in a seven part series.

Cooperation Is Natural

Nature contact facilitates mental and physical development, improves learning, makes us more cooperative, and promotes pro-environmental choices. These are the qualities we need for a prosperous society and that negotiators in tough negotiations need for positive results.

The Self-Deceptions of Recycling

It’s important to keep in mind that recycling not only takes large amounts of energy and resources to turn materials into products again, it also may lead to greater consumption and avoidance of better solutions. It’s better to instead focus on the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Departing Earth

Scientists, engineers, and science fiction writers have long imagined leaving Earth to colonize space, but now a budding company is accepting volunteers to become astronauts on a one-way trip to Mars. Is this just the first wave of permanent departures from our home planet—a long exodus in which forsake our precious Earth?

Are Plants Entering the Realm of the Sentient?

Some people are still grappling with the idea that humans are not the only animals with intelligence, thought, and consciousness. Some scientists are now studying whether even plants have intelligence—sensation, awareness, integration of information, long-term memory, and adaptive learning. Their findings challenge human uniqueness.

The Eco-Pope?

Pope Francis may be set to become the world leader on climate change and perhaps environmental protection more generally. Could his brave initiative break the logjam of climate denialism rife among U.S. conservatives?

Elitism and Climate Change Denialism

How can we begin to address the society-threatening damages caused by climate change when one of our major political parties is wholly set against action? Congressional Republicans stand alone in the industrialized world as the only major political party to refuse to acknowledge the threat. The will to dominate other people and nature may factor into their recalcitrance.

Sensing Turtles

Did you know that sea turtles help create the beaches that we love? And that they’re getting crowded out of those same beaches by people wanting easy access for recreation? Nerds to the rescue! Here’s an example of technology that unites people with nature rather than dividing the two.

What Studies of Groups Can’t Tell About Your Eco-choices

Am I more likely to make harmful choices because I’m more agreeable? That’s what a new study suggests, but to understand it properly means understanding that each individual is not a statistic and can actually make choices that go against the flow.

Are Polite People More Violent and Destructive?

Polite people seem to make society flow more smoothly. But a new experiment shows that they’re more likely to inflict harm on others. As we stumble in the search for a more livable world, we might want to embrace the people who rub us the wrong way occasionally. They’re more likely to choose the less destructive path.

Sustainability Needs Community

Many of us know in our hearts that our lifestyle is damaging to the environment and could even contribute to societal collapse. Changing course can be hard, but it becomes much easier when we don’t try to do it alone but rather gather in groups with shared purposes such as sustainability, social equity, and more resilient communities.

Ready for a Hotter Planet?

Are we prepared for climate change and environmental decline? Not only are we not doing enough to slow climate change, scientists say, but we’re also not prepared to handle the acute and chronic mental health challenges already stirred up by climate destabilization. If we don’t slow climate change, we may at least be able to brace ourselves against its effects.

Facing the Specter of Environmental Doom

According to a NASA-funded study, industrial civilization may soon collapse: the social and ecological systems our lives depend on may suddenly fail on a massive scale due to overuse of resources, global climate change, and social inequality. Only by facing this possibility earnestly and fully—overcoming our collective denial without panic—can we avert it from happening

Ideological Blinders Can Lead to Environmental Ruin

Conservative White Males lead efforts to deny global climate change and other major environmental and social problems. They may be driven more by an unconscious fear that accepting these realities would undermine the status of their own in-group—and the political-economic system that privileges it—than by a will to deceive.

Trouble in Paradise

The world is not quite what it seems, as psychological studies so often remind us. We filter out information that conflicts with the views we hold and let in information that confirms those views — the so-called “confirmation bias.” Places like the island of Bali can have reputations as paradise, but do such images of perfection block us from seeing reality?

A Holiday Gift for Your Mother: Earth

Every year, most of us in the United States and the rest of the Western world ramp up our consumer drive into the holidays, when we participate in a ritual that’s often anxiety provoking and, perhaps worse, takes a huge toll on the environment. Let’s begin to give each other and the planet a break—and form stronger bonds in the process.

Despair, Courage, & Hope in an Age of Environmental Turmoil

Most aware people know that our economies and lifestyles are messing up the planet, causing pain and destruction. Species are going extinct, we’re contaminating our bodies with toxins, and rain forest is being converted to monoculture plantations. How does this knowledge of destruction—and its repression—affect our psyches? How can we unblock repression?

Catching Up with Caveman

Science has recently been telling us some truly wonderful news: We humans are not alone in the universe as the only conscious, feeling beings. Other animals are conscious, can think, can feel pain, and can even be considered people. The question is, Why do we need to be told such things that our ancestors already knew?

The Whites of Their Eyes

We live in two worlds simultaneously: the world of our direct experiences—smartphones, well stocked grocery stores, cars—and the realm where our consequences play out—toxic superfund sites, clear-cut tropical forests, oil disasters. Only by bridging the gulf between the two can we heal the planet.

Why We Hurt the Ones We Can’t See

Every day we make choices--buy a steak, drive a car--and the impacts ripple out across the globe--antibiotics rendered useless, the climate going crazy. How does this separation of actions and consequences affect our decision making? Some classic and highly controversial psychology experiments show that it makes us more destructive.

Are Environmental Problems Real If Nobody Sees Them?

News of environmental problems seems endless: worsening climate change, radioactive landscapes, flooded coastal cities, species going extinct. It can seem depressing and overwhelming. The world appears out of control, and the problems seem abstract. How do they relate to our daily lives? How can we regain control over our environmental impacts?