Never underestimate the power of denial

On Saturday 2nd March I will be attending the Climate Forum Futures Festival. Some details about the event can be found on the Facebook page here. I’m going to talk about denial in the context of climate change. Perhaps in a way that you have never thought about before.

Denial, the refusal to engage with facts or arguments, to hold onto an idea or way of thinking in the face of overwhelming evidence not only impedes our understanding of the natural world, but leaves us in danger of failing to act on issues such as climate change.

It will probably be impossible to convince some inhabitants of the ‘denialosphere’ that humans are importantly responsible for significant and dangerous changes in the Earth’s climate. But what about the rest of us? I believe that many people are in a fundamental state of denial about climate change and many of the other global scale challenges that we and future generations face.

This denial is grounded on notions of progress and development and contains the implicit assumption that we gift future generations the ability to provide solutions to these challenges via our current exploitation of resources. What we can often be in denial about, is that it is this exploitation of resources which is the root cause of the problem. At best we are borrowing from the future. At worse we seem to be at war with it.

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