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I’m currently working on a film about solutions for climate change. The work and ideas of Jeremy Rifkin are leading for now. Every social change requires a new narrative, and Rifkin’s narrative of the Third Industrial Revolution has brought him to be an advisor to the European Union and recently even to Chinese premier Li Keqiang.

If CO2 emissions remain unchecked, global warming will probably kill our children and put severe pressure on the survival of the human race. Big words but it’s simple math and complex science that leave not much room for uncertainty on these conclusions.

But doom stories – true or not true  – only lead us to despair.

To bring about a change, a Better and More story is far more effective then the ‘we should do less’ message that the environmental groups have been massively pushing. Look at Tesla’s highly successful strategy: make a car that is better, faster, cooler and greener than the old fossil fuel things. New buildings should be better and more comfortable and cheaper than the old not-so-well insulated buildings without solar roofs.

The new film will probably have the ‘look and feel’ of a nature documentary. Think David Attenborough meets Elon Musk meets Jeremy Rifkin meets 2001 a Space Odyssey.

Please let me know if you want to help in any way.

Here you find the Global Crisis Guide.

Universal Declaration of Human Direction

An ideology for the 21st Century

In what world do we want our children to live?

PREAMBLE (concept of humanity)


Man is a social being. Individual development is always dependent on social development. Man is empathetic and able to love. This is the basis of human community;


Marshall (2014). Don’t Even Think About It.

Marshall (2014). Don’t Even Think About It. Why our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change. New York: Bloomsbury


“the reason why people do not accept climate change is nothing to do with the information – it is the cultural coding that it contains.” p23

“Attitudes on climate change … have become a social cue like gun control: a shorthand for figuring out who is in our group” p23

“rational scientific data can lose against a compelling emotional story” p24

“during our evolutionary development … being out of sync with the people around us carried a potentially life-threatening danger of ostracism or abandonment. There are, therefore, real and serious risks involved with holding views that are out of step with your social group and your brain is wired to give them greater weight than other risks” p27

“drawing too much attention to an undesirable norm can seriously backfire.”… “Environmental organizations never seem to learn this message.” p30

“The missing truth … in these enemy narratives, is that in high-carbon societies, everyone contributes to the emissions that cause the problem. … This is why I have become convinced that the real battle for mass action will not be won through enemy narratives and that we need to find narratives based on cooperation, mutual interests, and our common humanity.” p42

“.. the real story lies in our flawed psychology… Climate change isn’t the elephant in the room; it’s the elephant we’re all inside of.” p43

we “respond strongly to four key triggers… PAIN: Personal, Abrupt, Immoral, Now.” p47

“Daniel Kahneman: “No amount of psychological awareness will overcome people’s reluctance to lower their standard of living.”” p 58


“Among r Republicans, the more people knew about climate change, the less likely they were to believe in it. Overall, climate deniers had a slightly better general understanding of science than believers.” p124

“As the Australian academic Clive Hamilton puts it, very elegantly, “Denial is due to a surplus of culture rather than a deficit of information.”” .. information does not change people’s attitudes”. p124

Environmentalists reinforce the “frames that can lead other people to marginalize and ignore climate change”. p130 ‘Earth Day’ shows what we are afraid of: lights going out! Not a useful image. p133.

“The problem … is that when people feel threatened and isolated, they can adopt a range of strategies to diminish their sense of internal fear: denail, uncertainty, playing down the threat, fatalism, and anger towards the communicator.” p.139

Bright-siding – just optimist thinking – is “ultimately a regressive narrative that validates existing hierarchies”. p149

How to win a heated debate? By using “stories and social cues reinforced by humor”. p152. Environmentalists are often “judgmental elitists and hypocrites. Skeptics are relaxed and can enjoy life and have a laugh. .. Who would you rather have a beer with?” p153

Live earth didn’t build a movement. Ozone problem was solved but was different. “Frames do not just focus the attention: they define the areas for disattention. [Ozone and acid rain frames are converted into climate framing and] defined climate change as an environmental issue and therefore not a resource, an energy, an economic, a health or a social rights issue. … But the largest, most extraordinary, and damaging misframing of all acquired from the precedents of ozone depletion and acid rain was that climate change could be defined entirely and exclusively as a problem of gases.” p166-167.

“The focus on tailpipe gases and disregard for wellhead fuels had been the single most important factor in all government and policy framings”. p 168

“.. a policy on climate change that ignores production of fossil fuels is like a policy on drugs that ignores the poppy fields, cocaine labs, smuggling networks, and dealers and focuses exclusively on the addicts.” p170 !!

Has the focus on tailpipe (gases) been intentional? “this discussion has never taken place.” 170

Children-framing? Doesn’t help. “The attitudinal research suggests that people who have children are no more concerned about climate change than anyone else – indeed, possibly less so.” p189

Personal responsibility campaigns “did not actually work”. p194 “As soon as one creates responsibility, one creates blame. Blame creates resentment. .. What none of us fully appreciated at the time was how readily these anodyne messages would be mobilized to fuel people’s sectarian prejudices.” p195 “Our willingness to make a personal sacrifice is entirely bound up with our sense of social identity”. p196 “What is urgently required, is a coherent policy framework that provides a contract for shared participation.” p197

Scientists are also dealing with anxiety (p198-). Scientists and activist use compartmentalization to deal with the stress. p.203.

Proof of the immense sub-surface stress / “Extinction is an emerging narrative around climate change” p206

“A survey of five hundred American preteens found that more than half felt the world was in decline and a third believed it would not exist when they grew up.”p206 !!

The Future of Humanity Institute gave a “19 percent probability that the hunan species will go extinct before the end of this century.” p207

Explanation: these widespread extinction narratives are a defense mechanism: “one that bypasses the entire issue of our moral responsibility“. p207

Climate change is probably subconsciously associated with death: “many of the standard responses to climate change… are all consistent with our responses to our fear of death.” p209

Religion, as a successful social movement, might offer models for climate action; it involves social group construction and ‘emotional-brain commitment to action’. (p. 211-) Guilt appears a lot around climate change but “What is missing.. is forgiveness”. p224

Importance of conviction: we need to address the feelings of blame and guilt” p225

Climate change is exceptionally multivalent (see also Morton). p227

Shared conviction and social normes can lead to action easily. p229

Practical advice (p231-)

  • Emphasize that climate change is happening here and now (don’t create distance)
  • opportunity to restore past loss
  • Recognize moments of proximity
  • Creating the symbolic moment (extreme weather events)
  • Open up a conversation about long-term preparedness.
  • Build narratives of positive change
  • Resist simple framings and be open to new meanings (ie from tailpipe to wellhead)
  • Ensure that a wide range of solutions is constantly under review
  • Never accept your opponent’s frames
  • Create a heroic quest
  • Build a narrative of cooperation, Stress cooperation not unity
  • Be honest about the danger and Encourage positive visions
  • Emphasize that action on climate change makes us proud to be who we are
  • Enable communications with built-in interaction
  • Create communities of shared conviction
  • keep an open mind, alert to your own bias
  • Tell personal stories
  • Drop the eco-stuff, especially polar bears, saving the planet, and any other language that stakes out climate change as the exclusive cultural domain of environmentalism.
  • Never assume that what works for you will work for others
  • Mourn the end of the fossil fuels age

Morton (2013). Hyperobjects. Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World.

Morton, Timothy. Hyperobjects. Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 2013.


Global warming is fundamentally different from many other threats we as humans have faced. We are actually inside this threat; we are part of it and responsible for it. Dealing with global warming is therefore utterly difficult. Right now we are in denial – which is logical because the danger is really coming from unusual dimensions (a hyperobject). We should pause to see it, and then take responsibility.


As a work of philosophy, this book offers new and original ideas. As a practical guide to living in times of hyperobjects the book takes way to many words to describe what has been summarized above in five sentences. Morton is bold and graceful, however, in his use of art and artworks to construct his argument, and pointing out a role for the arts in communicating the intricate world of hyperobjects into the realm of our unconsciousness.


How to get People to Change?

The climate is changing, but how to get people to actually change? Chip and Dan Heath offer a highly simplified framework based on recent research. And some of their findings are surprising. Surprisingly counterintuitive but also surprisingly simple. We will try to use this frame in the context of climate change, knowing how most people psychologically react to it.



The Heath brothers have worked a lot of change research into a framework or big mammals; we the people are pictured as elephants and riders. Our minds are the riders, trying to direct the almighty elephant: our unconsciousness, our emotions, feelings. And then there’s the rainforest: the uncertain path that elephant and rider try to navigate.

It seems pretty simple. First, acknowledge that our guts are by far the most important factor; people hardly change because they know they should, but because they feel so. Second, our guts are easily demotivated. In order not to lose our unconscious motivation, we need clear and simple steps that show immediate results.

So are people really hesitant to change? Not really. Chip and Dan demonstrate that it’s mostly misinformation and not plain unwillingness that prevent people from changing. But just giving more information is not going to do the trick. It’s not only the mind that needs to be focussed, but also our feelings and our environment.

The mind (rider) has a tendency to focus on the negative. That’s why it is helpful to focus on what the authors call ‘bright spots’. Search for examples where change did happen. Our emotions (elephant) have their own ‘language’ that is made up of stories, images, colors, music, fear and joy. The environment seems fixed, but it isn’t always. Think knot in handkerchief.

And then there is the biggest elephant in the room: we are pack animals. Our elephants all tend to follow each other. The good news is: negative behavior (overconsumption) is contagious, but positive behavior also. We tip if the tip jar is filled already; we recycle our hotel towels if we know that a majority of guests does the same. Our social antennae are extremely sensitive, it seems.

So how to apply this simple frame to behavioral climate changes?

  1. Look for bright spots: a change to renewable energy is possible, China’s increase in coal use has come to a halt, et cetera
  2. script specific behaviors with short term, significant results:
    1. auto-save for insulation of your house (buildings biggest source of CO2)
    2. (one-click) switch to utility offering green energy (often cheaper!)
    3. Meatless Monday (meat consumption second biggest source of CO2(equivalent))
    4. Next Car Electric: when will you need new car? Simple overview of options for electric car
  3. make need for change felt, not only known: show where the waterline in Amsterdam will be when children are grown. Do a hunger strike to make food shortages felt.
  4. show how much CO2 has been saved, and how much money. show how much already has been saved because cars have become more efficient over the years (‘we’re already on the way’)
  5. Have a Herd: show positive peer behavior (we solve climate change!)
  6. (just) Information, especially on ‘how bad it is’, is not enough or even counterproductive

How about an ‘APK to Paris’ (periodic car inspection), to make sure not only your car but your life is ready for the climate talks in December 2015? With the steps listed under 2. Specific Behaviors as a starting point?



State of the Climate

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, CO2 levels have increased 40% and methane levels over 250%.

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations over last 2000 years. Source: IPCC AR4.

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations over last 2000 years. Source: IPCC AR4.

Greenhouse gasses have the effect of preventing heat leaving the planet. Over 90% of the extra trapped heat is absorbed by the oceans.

Global temperatures have risen 0,8C in the last century.

The Arctic ocean is losing ice at about 3000M3 per decade since 1979. Back then there was about 17,000 cubic meters of Arctic ice in September (just after northern summer). If the trend continues then it takes only 17,000/3,000 = 5.6 decades since 1979 before the arctic will be free of ice in summer. In about two decades, in 2034 the Arctic might be free of ice. Given the variance, it will probably occur somewhat sooner.[1].

Source: Polar Science Center, Washington DC.

Source: Polar Science Center, Washington DC.


The Arctic is warming up more rapidly because ice reflects heat (albedo) much better then water. This extra warming of the Arctic region, called Polar Amplification, is currently the largest positive feedback in the climate system.

Source: Sam Carana,

Source: Sam Carana,

A second albedo change comes from darkening of the snow cover, due to black sooth from increasing forest fires and old particles that emerge from the melting snow, collecting in the top layer.

Source: Dr. Jason Box,

Methane eruptions in the Arctic are increasing because of the heating Arctic. Russian scientists Nathalia Shakova and Igor Semiletov estimate that methane clathrates (gas molecules frozen in water) in the shallow ocean north of Siberia can be destabilized in a matter of decades, saying “It might happen today”.

Feedback loops like albedo and methane clathrates have the potential of leading to an abrupt change in global climate.

Sea levels rising indicate rising temperatures, because two sources contribute to sea level change: water temperature and melting land ice.[2]. Projections of sea level rise are uncertain, because the feedback loops seem to be highly unpredictable. Estimates for ‘business as usual’ range from about 1 meter by 2100 [3] to about 7 meters by 2070[4]. The last number is based on Paul Beckwiths observation that glacial melt rates have been doubling about every 7 years in the last few decades.

Extreme weather events are increasing rapidly. For people in coastal regions, like Miami, Bangladesh or the Netherlands, that means it will be even more difficult to keep the rising water out. The 90% of extra warming energy going into the oceans means more energy for storms and tornadoes is available. Other areas face increased drought, heat or cold.[5]

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]

Documentaries on Climate/Energy

Rather well-made film about climate change and growing grass-root movements. Leaves out some issues though, like meat consumption, fracking, but also the divestment strategy as a solution for change of power structures.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret Quite brilliant investigative doc about meat productions’ influence on the climate and how environmental organizations have serious trouble addressing it.

Climate change in the anthropocene not much on solutions but interesting angle and brilliant explainer by hans rosling in the middle.

Beautiful, British account of what gets lost through global warming. Not focusing on solutions, though.

Doomy (but possibly accurate) account of what rising temperatures mean. Some focus on solutions, but no integrated vision or strategy for change.

This film aims to convey how human behavior and the threat of climate change and environmental problems are strongly interlinked. A description of the problems humans have in taking the future into account and favouring short-term gains rather than considering long term consequences are discussed.

The Collective Evolution III is a powerful documentary that explores a revolutionary shift affecting every aspect of our planet. As the shift hits the fan, people are becoming more aware of the control structures that prevent us from experiencing our full potential.


On the Psychology of Climate Change

How do people psychologically deal with knowledge of climate change?
This is an excellent overview of recent research.
It seems that alarming messages are counter productive. There has to be  an action perspective, or things will be too much overwhelming. More precise: there seems to be a double bind (psychological catch-22) between (a)  deep concern for planet and (b) deep concern for own lifestyle.
The result of this double bind is apathy and shifting baselines, because the changes are too slow on a human scale.
“Anxiety and helplessness, argues a report published last week by the American Psychological Association, rather than ambivalence or apathy are the biggest barriers to individuals taking action.”
Krosnick and his colleagues at Stanford University. Their study about attitudes related to global warming, published in 2006, found that ‘people stop paying attention to a problem when they realize there is no easy solutions for it”.
“To motivate deniers’ pro-environmental actions, communication should focus on how mitigation efforts can promote a better society, rather than focusing on the reality of climate change and averting its risks.
“Positive Rather than Fear Based Appeals More Effective Among Skeptics”
“Catastrophic Climate Rhetoric Increases Climate Skepticism”
“Fear-Based Climate Appeals Fail”

Arctic Methane and the Mind

In the chaotic process of global warming, methane release from permafrost is a wildcard. The possibility of a sudden release of huge quantities of methane seems to be increasing. Russian researchers Igor Semiletov and Natalia Shakova have found indications of increasing methane release off the coast of Siberia. If such a sudden release were to happen, a mass extinction event on earth is likely.

This is a short video, “Arctic Methane and the Mind” showing some evidence and questioning the way the human psyche deals with this intangible news.


Arctic Indicators

The Arctic can be considered the canary in the coal mine of climate change. The region around the North Pole tends to heat up much faster than the rest of the earth. This results in rapid ice melt. Much faster than the UN until recently anticipated.


Arctic Sea Ice is melting much, much faster than even the best climate models had projected. The reason is most likely unmodeled amplifying feedbacks. Image via Arctic Sea Ice Blog:


Lyubomirsky (2007). The How of Happiness

Lyubomirsky, Sonja (2007). The How of Happiness. London: Sphere.

Based on years of research about happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky concludes that:

  • 60% of differences in (personally experienced) happiness are due to external and genetic circumstances
  • 40% of happiness can be explained by specific thinking and behaviour patterns.

So the good thing is: almost half or your well-being can be somehow influenced, and the other half of it just asks for acceptance. It will be useful to teach yourself to think and live in ways that make most people happy. What are these patterns in thinking and behaviour that seem to make people happier?

“Below is a sample of my observations, as well as those of other researchers, of the thinking and behaviour patters of the happiest participants in our studies.

  • They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.
  • They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have.
  • They are often the first to offer a helping hand to co-workers and passers-by.
  • They practice optimism when imagining their futures.
  • They savour life’s pleasures and try to live in the present moment.
  • They make physical exercise a weekly – and sometimes daily – habit.
  • They are deeply committed to life-long goals and ambitions (e.g., fighting fraud, building cabinets, or teaching their children their deeply held values).
  • And, last but not least, the happiest people do have their share of stress, crises and even tragedies. They may become just as distressed and emotional in such circumstances as you or I, but their secret weapon is the pose and strength they show in coping in the face of challenge.”[1]


  1. [1] Lyubormisky 2007: 23.