Episode four of Climate Curious podcast is now live with our special guest, Dr Kris De Meyer.

Listen now: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS | Android

“We really need to enlarge the scope of how we think about climate action,” says Dr. Kris De Meyer, a neuroscientist specialising in polarisation and TEDxLondon speaker, on the latest episode of the Climate Curious podcast by TEDxLondon.

In our most-empowering chat to date, he explains the new fault lines of the climate conversation, why in 2020 it feels so fragmented, and why the solution is less about thinking how we reduce our carbon footprint and more about how we can tackle it with our minds.

Having studied why people become entrenched in their beliefs for more than ten years, Dr. Kris gives us permission to not approach the topic as an existential crisis or a life-threatening disaster; and instead, reframe it as something we can all play a part in. He encourages us to consider how the climate conversation is a “wicked problem” – a problem which pervades everything.

“Climate change is what is called a wicked problem, meaning that it pervades everything. It pervades all of these decisions that we need to be making, about food, about transport, about where we live, about how we go on holiday, about how we supply our energy. And, that wicked problem, because it has so many facets to it, it has so many sides to it, it makes our brains try to make sense of it by coming to the simple answers”

Kris De Meyer

The fault lines in climate change debate have gone through enormous changes in the past twenty years. Whilst the dichotomy used to be between the people who didn’t think there was a problem versus the people who did think there was a problem, now, it’s not a question of science, but more one of opinions. “What is really changing now is the polarisation around how we should deal with climate change”, Dr. Kris says. 

Dr. Kris explains that the climate debate feels particularly challenging because it moralises the values and opinions you attach to certain things. Instead of focusing on becoming entrenched in our own mindset and beliefs, e.g. that cows are bad, we should work to find a place where our ‘agency’, i.e. our power in the world, intersects with the climate topic as a whole. And if you don’t have an opinion on the climate crisis, he assures us that this is also okay: we can all start our journey today, which is all about finding your place in the community. 

“It’s not only about the things that you do to reduce your own carbon footprint, it’s about how you try to bring the whole of society into this transition. Where we think about climate change not as a threat that is going to kill us all, but as something that we are tackling with all of our minds, as a group of people in a society.”

Kris De Meyer

In this Climate Curious episode, hosted by TEDxLondon’s Maryam Pasha and advocate and activist Ben Hurst, Dr. Kris debunks why the 2020 climate conversation feels fragmented and hostile, unpacks the neuroscience at the centre of this polarising topic, and reveals why discovering where your ‘agency’ and climate intersect is key to progress.

Until next time – stay curious!

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