To the editor,
Re: City council calls climate emergency, May 2.
Nanaimo city council should be congratulated for being aware and forward thinking enough to combat the ‘dragons of inaction’ in their own minds.
I was pleased when council passed a motion declaring a climate emergency and four other supporting motions, which take actual steps toward helping alleviate this pressing problem at the local level.
However, I am not surprised by the flurry of denial letters and Facebook comments that follow such a move. Researchers in the field of environmental psychology have been studying this phenomenon for a number of years now. Dr. Robert Gifford, of the University of Victoria, has identified at least 37 ‘dragons of inaction’ that prevent so-called rational humans from taking action, despite the overwhelming proof of a climate crisis.
My favourite dragon is called ancient brain, meaning that the human brain has evolved very little over the last thousands of years. Early humans were concerned about the here and now; they reacted to their immediate social networks, immediate dangers, and the exploitation of resources for immediate rewards. That is still largely true, unless we make an informed effort to modify our behaviour, including examining our resistance to change.
We should be proud that our city council is composed of individuals who are able to deal with the psychological dragons that prevent most of us from taking action. Many of them cycle, or bus, or walk their talk and I for one am proud and hopeful that they have taken this step.
Darcy Ambler, Nanaimo
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