by Zoe Weil

IHE President Zoe Weil wrote an essay that was published in Psychology Today. Here’s an excerpt from “Learning to ORIENT Ourselves to Address Global Challenges“:

… We all do this. We routinely and dangerously fail to address threats to ourselves, our loved ones, and our planet.

We are metaphorically falling through the ice, albeit in slow motion, failing to think rationally about many of the grave realities around us. We then fail to take action to protect whom and what we love.

Here’s one example:

We all know people who deny that climate change is influenced by humanity’s actions, or who think we’ll adjust just fine to a warming Earth. But most of us who accept the evidence that current climate change is human-caused, and may reach a catastrophic tipping point if we don’t change our ways, still choose to:

1. Fulfill desires that come with big doses of carbon and/or methane entering the atmosphere.
2. Reject learning about ways to reduce our carbon footprint that will interfere with the fulfillment of those desires.
3. Pretend that our choices don’t matter; or our efforts at changing systems will be for naught; or things will all work out through some last-minute technological fix.

How do we resist these very human responses to both short-term and long-term dangers?

The next time I’m preoccupied or distracted in a dangerous situation, I hope I will have a voice of reason that interrupts my fantasy world. But hope is not enough. I need to cultivate certain ways of thinking and acting to ensure a safe outcome.

I’ve come up with the acronym ORIENT to help me remember the steps to take.

Read the complete essay.




Photo by Heidi Sandstrom. on Unsplash


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