Scepticism regarding the need for immediate and massive action against carbon emissions is a sickness of societies and individuals which needs to be "treated", according to an Oregon-based professor of "sociology and environmental studies". Professor Kari Norgaard compares the struggle against climate scepticism to that against racism and slavery in the US South.
Prof Norgaard holds a B.S. in biology and a master's and PhD in sociology.
"Over the past ten years I have published and taught in the areas of environmental sociology, gender and environment, race and environment, climate change, sociology of culture, social movements and sociology of emotions," she says.
The good prof is in London at the moment for the "Planet Under Pressure" conference, where she presented a paper on Wednesday dealing with how best to do away with the evil of scepticism and get the human race to focus all its efforts on saving the planet.
According to an Oregon uni statement announcing the paper:
Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated ...
"This kind of cultural resistance to very significant social threat is something that we would expect in any society facing a massive threat," [Norgaard] said.
The discussion, she said, is comparable to what happened with challenges to racism or slavery in the U.S. South.
Professor Norgaard considers that fuzzy-studies academics such as herself must stand shoulder to shoulder with the actual real climate scientists who know some maths in an effort to change society and individuals for their own good. It's not a new idea: psychiatrists in Blighty and the US have lately called for a "science of communicating science" rather reminiscent of Isaac Asimov's science-fictional "Psychohistory" discipline, able to predict and alter the behaviour of large populations*.
At least some climate physicists and such might reasonably consider this to be just the sort of help they really don't need in convincing ordinary folk that their recommendations ought to be taken seriously. ®
*Admittedly Psychohistory only worked on huge galactic civilisations, and then only if the people being manipulated for their own good were unaware that the science of Psychohistory existed - neither of which are the case here.