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Psychologists Want to Purge Your Brain of Un-Green Thoughts

Think what you're supposed to think ... or else.

by
Elizabeth Scalia

Bio

September 9, 2008 - 12:00 am
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Time has come today
Young hearts can go their way
Can’t put it off another day
I don’t care what others say
They say we don’t listen anyway
Time has come today
— “Time Has Come Today,” The Chambers Brothers

Somewhere between 1968 and 2008 the social messaging wires have gotten tangled.

Forty years after enlightened baby boomers and academics decried conformity and told the world to ignore “the establishment,” to not kowtow to “the man,” to “rap about problems to find solutions,” and to “not guilt-trip or judge other people’s life choices,” those same sorts — the now firmly ensconced “establishment” pretending otherwise — are wondering why they can’t get people to fall in line and do as they’re told to do and think as they’re told to think with respect to the environment and the “crisis” of “climate change,” the “crisis” which used to be called “global warming” until the news got out that the earth has been cooling for the last ten years and the arctic ice is refusing to melt.

Now, these establishment Boomers want you to kowtow to “the man.” They’ll brook no open discussions and they prefer you would learn to judge others — and to scold them — for their own good and for the planet’s.

To encourage you in those noble endeavors, the new establishment is bringing in the psychologists:

Armed with new research into what makes some people environmentally conscious and others less so, the 148,000-member American Psychological Association is stepping up efforts to foster a broader sense of eco-sensitivity that the group believes will translate into more public action to protect the planet.

“We know how to change behavior and attitudes. That is what we do,” says Yale University psychologist Alan Kazdin, association president. “We know what messages will work and what will not.”

These experts have made the staggering observation that negative feedback breeds a bit of spite; if you tell people they are pigs who are killing the earth, people will raise an eyebrow and defiantly throw their candy wrappers on the ground, but if they are “invested in the environment” and lauded for that, they will keep the candy wrappers in their pockets.

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