On the road so just a thought:
The New York Times Magazine had an interesting article, yesterday, about the science of morality, which offers some excellent insight into talking about climate change and the environment to people who seem more concerned about other things. In the "The Morality Instinct," writer Steven Pinker says that we are all hard-wired to have the same morals to do with: harm, fairness, community (or group loyalty), authority and purity.
Why we disagree on crucial issues, according to Pinker, is that even though we have the same morals, our cultures and backgrounds condition us to place different emphasis on particular morals in different situations. In other words, in general, we are all trying to do the right thing. It's just that the right thing is different, depending on which moral you're putting on top.
This is helpful, if it helps not to judge someone you're hoping to take seriously your environmental concerns. At least one can put down frustration and judgment and see that they other person cares, just not exactly about what you care about. As Pinker says:
But in any conflict in which a meeting of the minds is not completely hopeless, a recognition that the other guy is acting from moral rather than venal reasons can be a first patch of common ground. One side can acknowledge the other’s concern for community or stability or fairness or dignity, even while arguing that some other value should trump it in that instance. With affirmative action, for example, the opponents can be seen as arguing from a sense of fairness, not racism, and the defenders can be seen as acting from a concern with community, not bureaucratic power. Liberals can ratify conservatives’ concern with families while noting that gay marriage is perfectly consistent with that concern.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.