| Post

The psychology of Coronavirus vs. climate change: Why we mobilize for one, not the other

Image from Stars and Stripes Okinawa

by Patty Wetli, WTTW Chicago


The human response to Coronavirus is more urgent because it is considered an “immediate” issue, as opposed to the climate crisis, which appears to many to be a distant threat

  • Behavioral economist Katherine Milkman explains that our inaction on climate change and our collective mobilization on the Coronavirus is because we tend to do things that bring immediate gratification instead of addressing long term problems
  • Peer perceptions are very powerful motivators
  • People are more likely to take action if human lives are immediately at stake, verses responding to gradual climate change as it affects glaciers and land masses

The Climate Center’s rapid decarbonization campaign translates the urgent need for bold action into rapid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions at scale. Our theory of change helps address the fact that climate change is not perceived to be an immediate threat.

Read more: https://news.wttw.com/2020/03/02/psychology-coronavirus-vs-climate-change-why-we-mobilize-one-not-other