This is a guest blog by Jean Brittingham.
Focusing on the negative doesn’t work. It crushes creativity, quells innovation and makes it very difficult to find hope. It makes us feel as if we have less control over our situation. It builds fear.
And fear breeds denial and resistance to the message as explained in this recent Big Think blog about the studies related to climate change and the increase in disbelief about the serious nature of the challenge.
And yet, we can’t seem to help ourselves. Those of us who spend a lot of time with science and scientists, looking at the data and spending nights worrying about how limited our ability to respond would be if the worst of what we fear actually happens, feel compelled to bring others along on our very dark ride. It reminds me of a line from a haunting Randy Newman song “I Just Want You To Hurt Like I Do.”
But let’s be honest. If the best that we can do is spread the fear, we are not any better at responding than those who decide they are just not going to believe in climate change, climate science, climate scientists or us—the fear bringers. In fact anything that would suggest they can’t just focus on their lives and do the best they can every day to make things better for themselves and their families is invisible to them.
And that’s where I believe the answer lies–our better future. Better for you and for your family. And ultimately, better for the planet, the rest of our species, and the others we share the planet with.
But that’s not the starting point. It’s the ending place.
The starting point is focusing on the future you really want. That’s why I am so excited about a new project lead by my friend and colleague Bill Becker. The Future We Want aims to engage the public in envisioning how the future will work, how we will live, get around, work and play. It is based on the idea that some of the greatest shifts in the world have happened after large-scale exhibits, world fairs and expos, that were future-focused, hopeful and exciting. The trick is that many people need to get excited and see the opportunity at the same time. That part is critical.
So how about we not just change the way we are communicating, but we change the way we are thinking. Let’s focus on the future and how to get there. Let’s focus on finding and then creating the future we want together.