Tag Archives: Thought for the Day

Climate Thought for the Day

What’s in a name?

According to neuroscience, a hefty payload of condescension and disdain.

And that’s what makes the climate wars so ugly and venemous: our instinctive need to cram one another into dismissive, prejudicial boxes. To reduce each other to question-begging labels.

Both sides are guilty of it—realists and confusionists.

I may be the first person who’s ever said this about the climate debate but:

Something has to give. We can’t go on like this.

What do you reckon, fellow science-literates—shouldn’t we at least pretend to treat the climate gullibilist case seriously?

And to those who reject the facts, allow me to put exactly the same challenge:

Would it kill you and your fellow delusionists to respect those of us that have other, better opinions about the Earth’s atmosphere?

I know I’m asking a lot here—I know this can’t be easy for a largely hate-based faith movement like yours—but couldn’t you at least try to sound polite?

The history of science tells us that, for the good guys in this controversy, victory is a fait accompli. It’s only a matter of time.

Reader, let us dream bigger than that. Let us dream of basic etiquette. Let us dream of a world of lowered voices and cool civility, a world where—who knows?—the inevitable triumph of the correct might even be achieved without a single shot being fired.

Isn’t that a fantasy we’ve all had, at one time or another?

Climate Thought for the Day

with Professor Stephan Lewandowsky
University of Bristol, Bristol

Climate change is real.


Climate change is happening.


It may even be happening near you.

Someone you know may already have experienced it.

It could be anyone. A lecturer in your faculty. A lecturer in another faculty. That loner who sits in the back row at your Greenpeace chapter meetings. An associate lecturer.

Literally anyone.

Talk to them. More importantly, listen to them, and be a shoulder to cry on.

They will seem irrational, they will be in denial and they will take their anger out on you. Try not to take it personally! These are just normal stages in the process of healing from climate trauma.

Above all, resist the natural desire to suggest cheap, easy solutions. There are none, and it can be very offensive to propose them.

And for god’s sake, never tell a sufferer to “man up” and “try to adapt.”

Just be there. That’s what climate-change survivors need.


Stevan ‘Stephe’ Lewandowsky is the Chair in Theoretical Conspiracism at the University of Bristol, UK.

He does not work; own equity in any institution whose reputation has benefited from the publication of this article; or consult for.

As a psychologist, he has no direct experience with mental health.

This article is not a substitute for a mental illness support community like ThisWayUp, MoodGym or ShapingTomorrowsWorld.