Why are we struggling to change our reliance on fossil fuels?
We have come to rely on the world being constructed suitably for our survivial. For example, we would have difficulty giving up the car. There are many places where people live where vehicle trasnport is required to obtain the basics such as food. Changing this requires different habits and habits are hard to change. But it also requires chainging our systems. If everyone woke up tomorrow and found their cars unavailable, there would be chaos. We simply don’t have the physical trains, busses, etc to transport everyone. Construction of such systems will take time.
But there is more to it than that.
When we change we give up something. We have to be willing to give this up or we will resist the change. I believe the grieving process describes the stages we need to go through to change our reliance on fossil fuels.
The Five Stages Of Grief are:
1. Denial and Isolation.
Planet Earth is a closed environment. The philosophy of expansion and infinite growth is coming up against the limitations of this enclosure. We need to go through these 5 stages as a culture to realise how we can move forward to a different understanding of our closed environment (the planet).
Currently, our culture is still in the denial stage. We (the community) find it hard to resist the repetition by some that its all a hoax (the denial zombies). We havn’t reached the Anger stage yet. We will see more anger as the real impacts of a warming climate become more obvious to all. This will be accompanied by panic with some people abandoning reason in the face of droughts or the rising ocean.
We have seen some of this with the residents groups of water front property owners. These people are angry that their property values might be impacted and so are trying to deny climate change. They want government to ignore that global warming and sea level rise is occurring. Some believe all their problems will be solved if government ignore the scientists.
The bargaining stage comes next and includes the “why me” response. Some would claim they had nothing to do with the causes instead of accepting that its historical, we all have a hand in it and its a cultural thing that is not the direct fault of any individuals.
Depression covers the “its all too hard, there’s nothing we can do” etc. Then there is acceptance and the recognition of the need for action.
The international community needs to work through this provess. The media has a lot to do with how well we cope with the various stages. The reporting of the community spirit of the recent floods suggests how this could be helped. Showing how people can pull together in the face of catastrophy can give us hope in the future, that we can survive and rebuild and achieve a better world. But this comes at the end. First we have to get past the denial stage we seem to be stuck in.