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George Marshall: "Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change"

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Published on Oct 21, 2014

"Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change"

What is the psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but act as if it is not? And how is it possible that when presented with overwhelming evidence, even the evidence of our own eyes, we can deliberately ignore something while being entirely aware that this is what we are doing? In DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change,George Marshall, world renowned for his work in research and campaigning for environmental organizations, shows readers that even when we accept that climate change is a dire problem, our human brains are wired to ignore it, but argues that we can overcome this.

Pondering these questions over the years, Marshall began to see climate change in an entirely new light: not as a media battle of science versus vested interests or truth versus fiction, but as the ultimate challenge to our ability to make sense of the world around us. More than any other issue it exposes the deepest workings of our minds, and shows our extraordinary and innate talent for seeing only what we want to see and disregarding what we would prefer not to know.

After speaking with the world’s leading experts in psychology, economics, risk assessment, linguistics, cultural anthropology, and evolutionary psychology, Marhsall confirms that humans are wired to respond strongest to threats that are visible, immediate, have historical precedent or direct personal impact, and are caused by an “enemy.” Climate change is none of these—it’s invisible, unprecedented, drawn out, impacts us indirectly, and is caused by us. Taking the reader deep into our evolutionary origins, Marshall argues that once we understand what excites, threatens, and motivates us, we can rethink and reimagine climate change. In the end, Don’t Even Think About It is both about climate change and about the qualities that make us human: our limitations, our strengths, and how we can grow as we deal with the greatest challenge we have ever faced.

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