Why don't we get angry about climate change?

By Jonathan Bartley
July 21, 2009

We got angry at the bankers and the politicians but why don't we get angry about climate change?

Of course many of us do, but it isn't on the scale we saw with the economic crisis and the scandals over MP's expenses. This is despite the fact that the stakes are infinitely higher.

The question is addressed by Jonathan Porrit, director of Forum for the Future here (the quality of the recording isn't great):

Many thanks to a good friend of Ekklesia, Barbara Panvel, who drew my attention to it.

So why aren't we more angry? There are undoubtedly several reasons. One is perhaps that with the other two issues, we found scapegoats (the bankers and the MPs) on which to lay the blame. With climate change, we are clearly more complicit in the problem and it is less easy to externalise the blame.

But there is perhaps a positive side too. The outbursts of anger at MPs and bankers have led (so far) to very limited reforms. Movements for wide-ranging change in the economic and political systems have been met by proposals for piece-meal reform usually based on tighter regulation. An innevitable result some might say of laying blame on a few individuals, rather than the system.

With climate change however it is becoming clearer that the cause is systemic as well as personal. It is harder to shy away from the proposal that wide-ranging reform and change in the very way that we all live, is required.

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