Psychology

In the absence of real political solutions to climate change, Stephen Gardiner argues that: “we are susceptible to proposals for action that do not respond to the real problem. This provides a good explanation of what has gone wrong in the last two decades of climate policy, from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen. However, the […]

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In life generally I am embarrassingly bad at keeping track of people with whom I’ve had only limited interaction. There are many people who I remember visually and may even know something about, but who I cannot name. There are probably even more people who look vaguely familiar, but for whom I couldn’t say if […]

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Both in the literature on fossil fuel divestment and when speaking with divestment activists the concept or worldview of “climate justice” is prominent. A good example is Jessica Grady-Benson and Brinda Sarathy’s paper “Fossil fuel divestment in US higher education: student-led organising for climate justice“. They contend that climate change is increasingly seen as a […]

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Climate change activists often (plausibly) assert that “the science is settled” and present themselves as the informed contrast to people whose lack of scientific understanding or manipulation by fossil fuel actors has left them with the false belief that climate change isn’t happening. At Toronto’s smallish Rise for Climate march on Saturday, I saw at […]

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A tweet of mine, written in a moment of irritability aggravated by the sound of jets roaring overhead, has gotten some attention by virtue of being incorporated into some news articles about social media commentary on the Toronto Air Show. In addition to my standard gripes about the wastefulness of jet engine use, the undesirability […]

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Addictions, even as they resemble normal human yearnings, are more about desire than attainment. In the addicted mode, the emotional charge is in the pursuit and the acquisition of the desired object, not in the possession and enjoyment of it. The greatest pleasure is in the momentary satisfaction of yearning. The fundamental addiction is to […]

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The question of control is a touchy one. No segment of the population feels powerlessness more acutely than Downtown Eastside drug addicts. Even the average citizen finds it difficult to question medical authority, for a host of cultural and psychological reasons. As an authority figure, the doctor triggers deeply ingrained feelings of childhood powerlessness in […]

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The inhabitants of the Hungry Ghost Realm are depicted as creatures with scrawny necks, small mouths, emaciated limbs and large, bloated, empty bellies. This is the domain of addiction, where we constantly seek something outside ourselves to curb an insatiable yearning for relief or fulfillment. The aching emptiness is perpetual because the substances, objects or […]

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I cannot uncritically say “Happy Canada Day”. In part, that’s because of Canada’s genocidal and otherwise unjust history, but there is also my broader skepticism about nationalism itself. It seems a bit akin to following professional sports. It may not appeal to me personally, but I have no reasonable objection to people who support a […]

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Among environmental groups, Greenpeace has a reputation for being hostile to technologies like genetically modified foods and nuclear power, as well as of often saying poorly justified and hyperbolic things about them. As a civil servant, I remember learning never to trust figures or claims found only in a Greenpeace report, but to seek corroboration […]

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