Psychology Would be “climate change is a Terrorist, we would have fought him a long time ago”
Why is mankind not decided to be the earth to contain rhitzung? The communication scientist George Marshall says: climate change is not hurting us enough.
George Marshall: “Unfortunately, scientific facts are convincing only rarely” (icon image)
Interview by Susanne Götze.
Reporting on climate change is one of the great journalistic challenge of our time. Also, for the MIRROR the climate crisis is one of the most important issues of Mankind. We therefore support this week, an international Initiative that wants to focus on: “Covering Climate Now” was initiated by the “Columbia Journalism Review” and the canadian newspaper “The Nation”, more than 200 media company in the world to take part in it, including the “Guardian”, “El País”, “La Repubblica”, “The Times of India” , “Bloomberg” or “Vanity Fair”. The MIRROR is dedicated to the climate crisis this week, the cover story of the current issue and every day special attention to spiegel.de.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Marshall, for decades, you try to convince people to do something against the climate crisis. And then Greta Thunberg comes. What is a 16-year-old girl, what do you have as a communications coach has ?
Marshall: No question, Greta is a strong Ambassador. It belongs to no one Organisation or political party and lives what they proclaimed. Even if you are not Greta’s opinion, you have to respect your commitment. Your message is clear and with integrity. Other celebrities such as Leonardo di Caprio are less credible, because they fly to their flaming speech with the private jet home .
MIRROR: you will Need a climate communicators like you?
Marshall: It looks like Greta would reach many people. But you ask people on the street in various countries in Europe – many Greta not know. Large parts of the population do not see climate change as their Problem. You take the threat of global warming personally. It relates to non – believe.
SPIEGEL: In recent times is increasingly being discussed whether the debate about climate protection contributes to further polarization in the society. What your observations are ?
Marshall: There is a clear political division in the area of climate protection. The man looks good in Germany: The Right of the Alternative for Germany, believe that climate change was a left-wing issue. Therefore, they reject it. It were especially left-wing and green movements, have to listen to the science first. In the United States-funded economic think tanks and rights groups, this is a very long time the fight against climate protection – almost a political Tradition. The AfD or the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro copy this behavior. The louder the Left and the Green environmental protection, the more sceptical the other side. The Ambassador is rejected, not the message.
MIRROR: Why do people take a global catastrophe such as global warming seriously, or deny you even?
Marshall: climate change can’t be touched. He is for many in the future, and it is a complex, global Problem. None of us has so far made the experience that the weather could change permanently. This is all hard to imagine.
SPIEGEL: But the weather can be felt and its changes.
Marshall: The consequences of today are in fact already noticeable. But often it is there, where it was always dry, even drier. Or with me in Wales, Where it was already moist, it rains even more. The changes happen slowly, and the consequences come slowly. We believe that we can deal with it, because we know that already .
MIRROR: We believe, therefore, that the adjustment again .
Marshall: Yes. A tragic error. The has psychological causes: to change something, we need a Narrative. Usually a story has a hero and a villain. But climate change is different. We’re all to blame and all will feel the consequences. The Good and the Bad when it comes to climate change is a part of us and our lives. The climate change would be a Terrorist, we would have fought him a long time ago. The Western States have mobilized in the last decade, trillions of euros, to hunt terrorists around the world. Against global warming, which is far more dangerous, we have spent only a fraction .
SPIEGEL: But there is already cause of the enemies of climate protection: the coal companies, ExxonMobil.
Marshall: No. Fossil fuel companies and climate The noseOPs of the Stars – Royals deniers like Donald Trump make climate protection but do not appear to change willfully the weather and droughts or Floods bring about. They deny, in part, simply the causes that trigger suffering and to do so, as you would approach anything. This is something else.
SPIEGEL: And how to tell climate change, so our Thinking goes away ?
Marshall: The Problem is that the Ambassador of the “bad news” was in the past, the science. Unfortunately, scientific facts are convincing only rarely: For decades, it is clear that tobacco smoke for people is harmful. Nevertheless, many people are still Smoking and in some countries even more. When it comes to climate change, you realize not even the same, how harmful is this: A flight to New York doesn’t hurt you personally .
SPIEGEL: Who is supposed to bring the message over?
Marshall: we need to do it all. It is important that people talk to each other about the topic: in the family, at work, during sports. You’re talking about! With each and everywhere. The biggest Problem is the silence around the crisis is .
MIRROR: How do you convince your interlocutors?
Marshall: Open a door, by treating your partner with respect. You should avoid to keep the other for a fool and let him feel it. You go to open the conversation and hear the other Version. It’s not about who is right. But you make your point without offending the other in front of the head. It convinced especially, if you explain how you came to your opinion. And you don’t expect, that are all the same convinced the first Time. Some of you will never reach. And others are thinking maybe on the way home the first Time. These are the small successes.