Opinion: Human brains aren’t wired to fight climate change | Chattanooga Times Free Press

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File photo/David Robert Elliott/The New York Times/ A dry field near Garden City, Kansas is seen on October 17, 2023. Groundwater is depleting in much of the country, often exacerbated by over-abstraction and regulatory oversight. Climate change.

Humans may be the only species capable of imagining the far future. Unfortunately, our brains are not wired to behave in ways that facilitate those futures. After all, most of us don’t even save enough for retirement.

Individual choices can have broad social implications. If we are broke in retirement, we rely on public assistance. But society as a whole is exposed to toxins for a short period of time. Take climate change. Burning fossil fuels, clearing forests, and mass-producing cows serve our immediate needs for light, farmland, and cheeseburgers, but at the cost of damaging the climate for many future generations.

How many generations exactly? Andrew Dessler, director of the Texas Climate Research Center at Texas A&M University, recently published a chart titled “The Climate Brink” that he co-authored with climate scientist Zeke Hausfater in the journal Substack.


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