Just listened to this episode of Radio Ecoshock and found it very interesting, especially the second half of the show.
The first half is talking about South America, and how changes to the Amazon rainforest could impact the climate of the whole world. It's an interview with a scientist discussing the Amazon and how it might well dry out - and where would that leave us, with a planet whose lungs have turned into grasslands?
The second half was is very interesting however. It's another interview this time with Dr. Deirdre Barrett of Harvard, discussing her new book "Supernormal Stimuli." The idea is that we humans evolved in hunting-gathering and developed information processing which makes sense for hunting-gathering. But we're in a context which isn't hunting-gathering, quite far from it.
Some scientists have studied how animals (such as birds) can be fooled by decoys. For example a bird can be fooled to sit on brightly colored fake eggs rather than on real eggs. Butterflies can be fooled into mating with cardboard butterflies. etc..etc..
The implication is that humans can be fooled by ..er..
Okay, this is kinda obvious but really think about the gizmos surrounding us. The designers make sure that the gizmos appeal to gut levels of our psyche. There's all kinds of products in the stores that make us react in weird ways and then we buy the thing because of that reaction, and not from any real need for the thing.
It means the corporations are finding ways to manipulate us into buying stuff we don't need .. and a result of buying stuff we don't need is using up the planet's resources to make all that unnecessary crap. Well, Alex didn't say that in the recording but I think he would agree.
What they talked about is this kind of stimuli and its effect on our judgement. They talked about how it can be misused, or how it could be used to create positive results.
Another thing they talked about is how our information processing system is wired to recognize immediate threats (a tiger about to jump you) but not threats that take decades to unfold. The latter bit is likely a strong part of the climate denial people, because it's hard to recognize the threat from climate change.