Justifications for the difficulty of tackling the climate crisis

This is the perfect storm of mis-aligned 21st century incentives:

  1. A planetary-scale disaster unfolding in slow motion, with little of the quick or easy visual- or sound-bites so suited our attention-deficient consciousnesses. One can only show a hockey stick graph so many times, and images of polar bears seem impossibly far removed. With the Cold War, it was at least easy for the average person to immediately comprehend the consequences of a misstep: a mushroom cloud, and then—nothing. While there are (sadly) certainly more examples at hand today that are well suited for the news cycle (e.g. the orange-red skies of the Australian and Californian wildfires this year), how many news outlets are actually drawing those links between these tragedies and the consequences of our actions?

  2. "Climate change is a ratings killer" — Chris Hayes The climate crisis is undoubtedly a story that begins with our poor life choices, and can only end when we collectively acknowledge and re-evaluate them. Too often, this re-evaluation is cast as teeth-pulling (reducing consumption on all fronts, portrayed as painful despite the spiritual hollowness of modern consumer culture), individual consumer choice (paying more for renewable energy—a patent lie now that renewables are actually cheaper than fossil fuels) and political gridlock (COPXX; no further comment here). This has had the effect of turning viewers off, a no-no for any advertising-based business whose primary KPI is engagement. Some believe this is primarily because these programmes have tended to be presented poorly. Others believe it to be too depressing—but this begs the question of how such a crisis can be more depressing than the endless parade of wars in the Middle East on show in the mass media? In the grand scheme of things, far too few outlets recognise this as opportunity to rebuild our economies in a way that is more just and equitable for people and living beings all across this Earth.

  3. Politically sensitive implications The climate crisis is almost certainly going to bring more climate refugees to the doorsteps of other cities, states, and nations as time goes on; the climate migrations have already started.

  4. Ideologically sensitive implications At the heart of it, the climate crisis is a story about the consequences of greed, of the lie of infinite economic growth on a finite planet. We've lived with this story for so long—so many, like I, was brought up on it, spoon-fed to us as school-children—that we've forgotten that it was just a story of hope we told ourselves in an age when we were so small in number as to be negligible on this planet.

  5. Compassion Fatigue Even for the most compassionate amongst us, the daily onslaught of Things Wrong With The World can induce a paradoxical apathy, from just having too many things to care about at once that we shut down as a coping mechanism.