The average person knows climate change is real, but it generally falls pretty low on their list of immediate concerns. Why is this? Daniel Goleman, George Lakoff, and Joshua Freedman believe the answer, in part, lies in the language used in the climate change discussion. Humans "only know direct causation because that's what you experienced as a child and that's what shows up in every language in the world and in every conceptual system. You have to learn systemic causation and it doesn't come automatically. It's not unconscious," says Joshua Freedman. Part of the solution to this lies in educating children on climate change, systems thinking, lifecycle assessment, etc. However, George Lakoff believes that emotions shouldn't be left out of the equation, "if we take those out of this sort of human interaction and we lose the actual emotional component of that empathy in that relationship, I think we're sunk. So this is a person that we're talking to who's doing things for reasons that are mostly emotional, and we need to understand and connect with those. And whether we're talking about a kid or the oil executive, we absolutely can empathize with either of them because they're dealing with the same kind of complicated challenges that we're dealing with, and unless we then connect at that human level, the sort of big ideas are going to go nowhere."
Daniel Goleman, Author, Ecological Intelligence
Joshua Freedman, CEO, Six Seconds; Author, Inside Change
George Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics, UC Berkeley; Author, The Political Mind
This program was recorded before a live audience on May 1, 2014.
CEO, Six Seconds; Author, Inside Change
Author of books including: Emotional Intelligence, and more recently, Ecological Intelligence
George Lakoff is the author of The Political Mind, Moral Politics, Don't Think of an Elephant!, Whose Freedom?, and Thinking Points (with the Rockridge Institute staff) and the co-author of The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide To Thinking and Talking Democratic. He is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley.