Why Global Warming Isn’t a Major Concern for Americans

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“Global warming doesn’t affect our visceral emotions,” says Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert in a session on happiness. And that’s why, he acclaims that we as a society are not taking it seriously. It doesn’t make us feel disgraced, dishonored or ill in the same way killing animals might or ‘okaying’ sex in public. Says Gilbert, “if climate change were caused by gay sex or eating puppies, Americans might just insist that we do something about it.”
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A very small part of our brain is responsible for thinking about the future and a very large part of our brain thinks about now, so it’s not difficult to see why our brains are not concerned with the future. He notes that food and the impurity of our air has changed dramatically in our lifetime and the only reason we tolerate it is because these changes have happened one day at a time.
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He’s right. We tend to only respond to threats that are painful and immediate, i.e., evil people who immediately threaten our well being. Terrorism is so much closer to home so it pushes our buttons. Global warming is a threat, but what makes it a deadly threat is that it fails to trigger our alarm bells. It’s a quiet enemy that has the potential to destroy life as we know it.
Andrew Zolli asks Dan Gilbert – “are we doomed to die? How would you design a reaction that works with our cognitive reactions rather than against them?”  Says Gilbert, “there are no reasons why we can’t rise to this occasion but there are reasons we don’t. We need to be framing this issue in a way that will arouse the brains of others. We need to give this threat a human face with morals and present it in a way that is abrupt and happens quickly. These need to be threats that seem to be urgent NOW, rather than something that may affect us in the future. We have to get global warming to push hot buttons before global warming gets really hot.”
Renee Blodgett
Founder
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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