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The Face and Heart of Climate Change

Despite increasing awareness of environmentalism, the problems worsen. The solution may lie in better understanding of human emotion – the subje...

Admin
|Apr 24|magazine7 min read

 

Despite increasing awareness of environmentalism, the problems worsen. The solution may lie in better understanding of human emotion – the subject of a conference at Harvard University in June. The NexusEQ Conference brings together world leading scientists and practitioners to use emotion to spark positive change.

This year's Earth Day theme is, "The Face of Climate Change." Perhaps, then, it's a day to look in the mirror:  Despite a generation of growing environmental awareness, we're not making sufficient change.

Solutions Require Emotional Intelligence

Scientists and practitioners meeting at Harvard in June will share examples of utilizing emotions to create positive change. The conference is part of a worldwide movement to promote "emotional intelligence," a set of skills for using emotions effectively.  Speakers include neuroscientists, leaders, educators, and even a 13-year-old environmentalist.

Emma Freedman, a middle-school student from California, speaks around the world about the plight of the rainforest. She explains, "I've seen first hand that we can't wait for adults to fix the environment. The planet needs us, so it's time for kids to become Jungle Heroes."

At the conference, Freedman will share her work engaging young people, and using some of the concepts of emotional intelligence. "We need to feel the connection to the environment," Miss Freedman says, "and kids need to know that you are never too young to make a difference." 

"Natural" Emotions Block Change

To create environmental change, we need human change. That starts by understanding emotion.

  • Emotions drive change, but the brain doesn't treat long-term, pervasive problems as threats.

  • Rhetoric about imminent destruction can trigger fear and stress, but people resist when they feel pushed because fear and powerlessness motivate short-term self-protection.

  • Feelings of compassion and appreciation reduce stress and are effective motivators of protective behavior.

Fortunately, we've learned that it's possible to become more skilled with emotion. By developing the learnable skills of emotional intelligence, people become better at making complex choices – and engaging others to do the same.

SOURCE Six Seconds Organization

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Read More in Energy Digital's April Issue

 

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