“There is no consistent evidence that viewing climate change as psychologically distant hinders climate action,” wrote the authors, led by Dr. Anne M. van Valkengoede of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, reporting mixed results. with studies.
Addressing Climate Change Inaction
Van Valkengoede and his colleagues collected results from opinion polls surveying people’s views on climate change, some of which included more than 100,000 people from 121 different countries.
polls showed that More than 50% of participants really believe climate change is happening Either now or in the near future and it will affect their local areas, not just distant places.
The team also looked at results from several studies designed to test the relationship between psychological distance and climate action.
Of the 26 reviewed studies, only nine found that a The positive relationship between psychological distance and climate action. In fact, some studies have found that seeing climate change as affecting distant places and communities makes people want to take more action.
The researchers also found that 25 of the 30 studies failed to prove that experimentally decreasing psychological distance increased climate action.
The authors suggest that widespread misconceptions about the relationship between psychological distance and climate action may actually be hindering progress in mitigating climate change due to social impact.
For example, if people perceive that others view climate change as psychologically distant and are therefore not taking action, they may be less likely to take action themselves. Also, they may think that their efforts are futile because Real environmental change depends on the combined efforts of many people.
The researchers added, “Therefore, we recommend researchers, communicators and policy makers focus on how to take advantage of the finding that many people already see climate change happening here and now ”