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Why do we worry too much about some environmental risks and
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Author:  Wayne Stollings [ Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:49 am ]
Post subject:  Why do we worry too much about some environmental risks and

http://conservationmagazine.org/2012/09 ... tion-gap/#!

Why do we worry too much about some environmental risks and not enough about others?

Why are my friends (and I) more afraid of some environmental threats than the evidence warrants, and less afraid of some perils than the evidence warns of? Why don’t our fears match the facts? And more importantly, what does the gap between our fears and the facts, a phenomenon I call “the perception gap,” do to human and environmental health?

A growing body of research into the neuroscience and psychology of fear and risk perception offers some provocative answers. Investigators are discovering that our health and safety rely on a system of risk perception that is instinctive—and mostly subconscious. It seems that no matter how hard we try to reason carefully and objectively, our brains are hardwired to rely on feelings as well as facts to figure out how to keep us alive.

The system has worked well throughout most of human history. But in the face of modern and complex environmental threats, it can make dangerous mistakes. Perhaps it’s time to let go of our Enlightenment-based faith in the power of rational analysis and attempt to better understand how risk perception works. It’s time to learn how to avoid the risks that the perception gap creates.

Author:  Fosgate [ Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Why do we worry too much about some environmental risks

It all boils down to perception and what one accepts as truth. It's like that George Costanza meme--"Remember, it's not a lie if you believe it!"

Author:  Dingo [ Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Why do we worry too much about some environmental risks

An example of unbalanced concern I find in comparing the end game implications of AGW and overpopulation with say nuclear power accidents.

Overpopulation and fossil fuel overload are essentially fatal long term while something sexier like a Fukushima or Chernobyl nuclear radiation spill, as bad as it is, is primarily a local problem, with low mortality consequences and doesn't seem to have long term environment destroying characteristics, judging from the robust natural comeback in the evacuated area around Chernobyl.

I'm just saying let's get our priorities straight or we will be endlessly distracted by every environmental scare that comes up. And whatever the problem, population is an important driver.

This article by Monbiot on Helen Caldicott, the queen of the nuclear radiation scare, gives us some sense of the problem of obsessive distraction.

Author:  Johhny Electriglide [ Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Why do we worry too much about some environmental risks

Right on, Dingo. Overpopulation is the root cause and driver of almost every environmental problem. You can throw in greed, stupidity, religions and cultures as aggravating factors. Unfortunately, with overpopulation itself, it is mathematically too late to prevent the crash on the 2040s. Time ran out at the end of last century for one child families universally accepted and obeyed, to have a sustainable population before crashing.
With AGW, we still have 9 years(maybe less) to reduce emissions 90% and avoid thermal maximum and its ELE. That is it theoretically can be done the way Hansen describes in "Storms of My Grandchildren". Knowing people a long time, they will probably do too little too late, and our species will go extinct with millions of others.
Then you have the illogic of the anti-any-nuclear crowd, the illogic of stopping animal cruelty but not caring if they go extinct from AGW. You have green trinket profiteers thinking they are making a real difference, when it is so little as to be a joke. Some just concentrate on on aspect which does need to change, like water use, food waste, soil conservation, green power of various specialties, and educating women for health and family planning. The reduce, re-use, and recycle mantra of sustainable living long term on this planet.
Still, nothing makes much difference after the tipping point of methane turnover in 2023 is fully crossed. Survivors must face a hotter and hotter world with rapidly moving grow lines and ecosystems collapses. Ecosystem services gone, species we rely on extinct, the oceans ruined, and caves, with still cool water, refuges until starvation. Underground fortresses, will they last over 100K years? If they did, would humans be different? Will they be able to survive with so few species left? I think they would end up overheated and starved, too. A multi-generational spaceship to a possible liveable planet? What if it isn't there, or is full of deadly organisms to humans? Will our saved DNA and seeds last over 230K years until conditions are better? Who will unlock the storage and plant them? No, and no one.

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