A clinical psychologist writes at TIME:
Our denial is understandable. Our species is not equipped to respond to the threats posed by global warming. Humans are built to find food and shelter, reproduce, and enjoy each other. We are genetically programmed to react to threats by fleeing or fighting, and at first, our environmental crisis does not seem to allow us to do either. We’re better at dealing with problems that are concrete, close-at-hand, familiar and require skills and tools that we already possess. Our global storm is invisible, unprecedented, drawn out, and caused by all of us. We have Paleolithic arousal systems, Neolithic brains, medieval institutions and 21st century technology—not a good mix for solving our climate problems.
And so we feel paralyzed and our belief that we are powerless can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a crisis that seems impossible to confront and but too scary to ignore, many people live in a state that psychologist Stanley Cohen calls “willful ignorance.” We both know and don’t know what is going on.