By Robert Bradley Jr. — December 2, 2022
“Dr. Duhaime is invited to liberate her brain to question the premises of climate alarmism and forced energy transformation. Listen to recent climate debates involving Steven Koonin. Read Alex Epstein’s Fossil Future. Sponsor a Harvard University discussion/debate with both. ‘Train Your Brain’ the right way.”
It is a grand intellectual ruse. Part of it is magical thinking: that wind, solar, and batteries can substitute for mineral energies and thus “save the planet.” The other part is the “everyone knows” shared narrative: catastrophic climate change is occurring because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
In the New York Times’s “Climate Forward,” Somini Sengupta recently interviewed neurologist Ann-Christine Duhaime based on her new book, “Minding the Climate: How Neuroscience Can Help Solve Our Environmental Crisis” (Harvard University Press). The question she sets out to answer (per Climate Forward) is: “Why we mortal humans cannot grasp and act on the climate emergency.”
The Times’s “Train Your Brain” begins by introducing the expert.
Dr. Ann-Christine Duhaime is a pediatric neurosurgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She looks at brains. Over the course of a 35-year career, she has looked inside many, many brains. She knows that the human brain is designed by evolution and that it is remarkably flexible, and that it has transformed the planet entirely.
(Yes, this is getting bad when a a pediatric neurosurgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital is given the privilege of thinking for the rest of us.)
Sengupta prefaces the interview by explaining how Duhaime’s analysis applies “largely to citizens of wealthy countries who, by all accounts, need to make some big and rapid behavioral changes to slow down global warming.” Here are Duhaime’s responses:
Our brain design evolved primarily for short-term decision-making focused on circumstances related to immediate, tangible survival: I do this action, and I get food.
Climate change is difficult because it is longer term rather than immediate. It is difficult to perceive directly; we didn’t need to evolve carbon dioxide sensors for survival. The results of our pro-environment actions remain largely invisible. Additionally, the things that cause climate change are rewarding. Fossil fuels have made our lives easier in many ways. They have also made many people wealthy.
(Make that 8 billion, and more than making life easier–making more people, and longer living, possible.)
Her answer is to “train our brains” to do the ‘correct’ environmental thing, although it might not be in our self-interest. Her ‘eco-team’ experiment tells her that the solution is at hand.
In the experiment, called Eco-Teams, neighborhood leaders got households in their area to create a team. The team got to choose which behaviors to change, such as reducing solid waste, using less energy, or saving water. They were taught how to change those behaviors and how to track their outcomes, like weighing their trash or metering their energy use. The team met regularly. They shared tips. They provided mutual support. They competed against other teams from other areas. They made it fun.
The analysis of this program showed that long after it ended, the participants continued their pro-environment behaviors. They incorporated something new into their self-image. In other words, their brains changed.
To this I speak for the very large majority of Americans who say, Count me out. Our philanthropic time is too scarce for such indoctrination. We do not need to chase the promised “social rewards.” Anyway, when it comes to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, why not support the Greening of Planet Earth with the the byproduct of the most affordable, reliable, plentiful energies?
Ann-Christine Duhaime ends: “Much of the problem will need to be solved by collective action. But this happens at the brain level also. Someone has to start a movement, and others have to be convinced to join in.”
Wrong issue, false cause. Dr. Duhaime is invited to liberate her brain to question the premises of climate alarmism and forced energy transformation. Listen to recent climate debates involving Steve Koonin. Read Alex Epstein’s recent book, Fossil Future. Even sponsor a discussion/debate with these two. “Train Your Brain” the right way.