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How to Deal with Climate Change Deniers

dealing with climate change deniers

Climate Change deniers fall into a few groups of people.

  1. Climate Change deniers that simply refuse to accept the science and don’t fully understand the scope of what is happening
  2. Climate Change deniers who refuse to accept the science because it doesn’t fit or changes their reality
  3. People who want attention and use the absurdity of Climate Change denial as a means to get attention (or use it as a means of disruption)
  4. People who know climate change exists and actively promote that it isn’t real because they stand to make profit

#4 is the worst of the bunch because they are fully aware of what is going on, what is causing climate change, yet they sell a different story that climate change doesn’t exist or isn’t caused by fossil fuels. If everyone were to wake up, stop purchasing and using fossil fuels, these people would stand to lose trillions of dollars. There’s financial incentive for them to tell another narrative to the media and the public… no matter the cost.

How to Deal with Climate Change Denier #3.

To save yourself time, energy and frustration… this is the individual that will waste all of those things. Many of these people don’t actually believe what they’re saying. Essentially, they are the real life version of online trolls. Some people want attention and don’t know of other way’s to get it. So what better way than to claim something as absurd as “Climate Change not existing”? That goes directly into the face of someone who’s career or passion is saving the planet’s ecosystem and knows that climate change exists. It creates conflict and they know its a great way to piss someone off. Ultimately, their intention is to waste your time to get attention or self entertainment. Sometimes they may get even more radical and use this method as a means of disruption. Its best to move on and not deal with them.

How Climate Change Disrupts some People’s View of Reality

Its like the 5 stages of denial.

  1. First, they completely deny that it exists in the first place. This usually involves conspiracies and that its made up science for some agenda.
  2. Then, the anger of “what if climate change real?” and “why didn’t we do something about it?”, “how could we let this happen?”.
  3. Then bargaining. They’ll try to justify to themselves and even to others they’re use of fossil fuels, etc. with reason.
  4. And when that doesn’t work, depression. This is where climate anxiety sets in as they realize the reality of the situation. Sometimes people never come out of this stage because they don’t find the strength and will that they can do something to make a difference.
  5. The last one is acceptance. Where they find the strength to do something about climate change. They’re done denying it, they want to take action and make a difference.

Climate anxiety is something that was never talked about but many are experiencing. The mind knows that to accept that climate change as a reality, it then has to deal with the fallout of that reality which often leads people to climate anxiety (The guilt of knowing what we have done to the planet and the worrying about what we can do). We then know, that there is an impending change if we don’t do something about it. So in some cases the mind is simply trying to protect itself from something it knows is real.

Climate Change Deniers that are Worth Your Time

Activism Against Climate Change Deniers
Activism Against Climate Change Deniers Photo by Markus Spiske

Its easy for some people to deny climate change as it doesn’t seem like a reality to them. Where on the flip side people who have had their homes swallowed up by fires raging from climate change in places like California and Australia are well aware that climate change is more than just a reality, it already here and getting much worse.

To help people understand (that are worth your time) empathy is the best way to help them understand rather than combating them with facts and arguing with them over science.
For people who have lost their homes due to forest fires, floods and extreme weather from around the world (all of which have increased in the past few years) climate change is very real to these people. They have experienced some of the worst effects and were displaced because of it.

If it were possible to bring people from all over the world to the front lines of a raging forest fire that has been caused by climate change, to feel the heat, the air, the lack of oxygen and watch everything around them in that area die… there would be no denying or questioning that this event in the history of humanity is here and is happening. Instead, a majority of people are watching the world burn through their laptops. Its fire markers on a map. Its a virtual reality instead of a real one.
But for the millions of people living in rural America, cozy condos in cities, rainy cities around the world or some politicians who sit inside their offices all day… its a “concept” rather than a reality. Their minds don’t acknowledge that this is very real and happening.

It would be a lot faster and easier for someone who doesn’t comprehend climate change to see video of things that are happening right now like the Amazon Rain Forest on fire, the fires engulfing large areas of Australia, ice caps melting and mass die offs of animal species simply because they don’t have access to food or from the weather changing suddenly.

This is why the Nature Documentaries on Netflix are so important.
Its easier for a human to understand and empathize when they see another living thing they care about die, or a place they would have loved to visit no longer exist or be safe to visit. Rather than showing them a data chart and a graph with numbers on it.

climate change protester holding up sign
Climate Change Protester Photo by Markus Spiske

And for those of us who already do understand… video adds more weight to the situation. This is what makes it all too easy to be overwhelmed by climate change anxiety or depression. But a more positive way to look at it is motivation and inspiration to do more about it and knowing that your actions matter.

These are the billions of people around the world who buy gas, drive diesel trucks, have stock in the oil industry, are a part manufacturing products/gas/chemicals that pollute the environment or are involved in the shipping industry (the biggest polluter and contributor to CO2 on the planet). These are all people who choose to do this without even thinking or caring about it not just out of ignorance, but because they never really put any thought into it. Not all of these people are not “write offs” or a waste of our time. Categorizing people as “Climate Change Deniers” and simply leaving it to that isn’t a world changing way to go about it.

It may be a polite way to say some people are just too dumb to understand, which is sometimes true. And some of those people are just not worth the energy, time and attention. When that energy, time and attention can be used to actually help fight what so many people don’t fully understand is a very dangerous reality.

It’s those people, who you know are good men and women (who work in one of the oil, gas, chemical, shipping industries) but they just doesn’t seem to grasp it somehow. Or they work at your local coffee shop and never really made the connections between our actions and the changing climate. They are one of those people who is worth your time.

Jacob Haust

With a passion for design, electric vehicles, engineering and the environment, Jacob is combining his interests to help make the world a more sustainable place for generations to come.

jacob haust

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