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”