Posted by: ARC | November 30, 2009

Why might religions be better on Climate Change action than scientists?

JEFF YOUNG: Why is it that a religious messenger might be a better one on this issue than a scientist?

MARTIN PALMER, ARC: Because people trust them. It’s as simple as that. Scientists are, on the whole, not very good communicators. There are one or two exceptions. They are not very good at telling stories, and one of the points that came out time and time again in our work in developing for this is that nobody was ever moved to change the way they live by a pie chart, but they are moved by a story. And in a sense, the environmental world has relied on science and facts for the past 40 years and the end result is we’re in a worse case than we were 40 years ago. Nobody actually changes what they do unless they are inspired, touched, given hope. And to some degree, what has happened has been that the environmental movement has tried to mimic the power of religion, and it has stolen from religion certain aspects. So, it’s stolen the notion of sin: if you get up in the morning and you put on the radio, no doubt to listen to this program, you make a cup of tea – or rather being in America you make a cup of coffee because, sadly, you don’t know how to make tea – you then drive to work and you switch on your computer. You committed, according to environmentalists, four sins.

YOUNG: Hmmm, carbon sinners.

PALMER: Carbon sinners. They are very good at making us feel guilty they’re very good at fear. The trouble is they’re not very good at hope, salvation, liberation, redemption, and they’re appallingly bad at celebrating.

Listen to or read the full interview on Living On Earth.

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