Psychological Barriers to Solving Global Problems

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The book Earth in the Balance by former US Vice President Al Gore is one of the best-qualified and most thorough analyses: ‘If a solution to a problem we face obviously calls for more effort and more sacrifice than we are even willing to imagine, or if even the greatest efforts by an individual were not enough to avert a tragedy, we tend to feel a temptation to disrupt the connection between the stimulus and the moral response.’ (p. 31) (translated from Czech) . This filter that we ourselves insert in our perception is called cognitive dissonance by psychologists. Nevertheless, more reasons for doing so little to solve global problems can be identified:

  • lack of verified information, but also excess of information (infotainment),
  • difficult measurability and operationalisation, quantification of results of efforts,
  • dynamic, non-linear nature of, and interconnection/dependence among problems,
  • consumer culture and growing individualism,
  • lack of political debate and leading personalities,
  • problem with collective action.