Nature Suggests Treating “High Carbon Lifestyles” Like Drug Addiction


I have to wonder how much CO2 was generated by putting this article on the Internet, what with all the energy required (via The Hockey Schtick)

(Nature) Lessons from addiction may help to transform our high-carbon lifestyle.

It is often said that those of us who live in affluent, developed counties are ‘addicted’ to our high-carbon lifestyles, which depend on profligate use of energy and material resources. Think of central heating, air conditioning, our reluctance to wean ourselves off international air travel – whether for business or pleasure – and the amount of meat that we consume in our diets.

Yet, as is my constant refrain, those who believe most in anthropogenic “climate change” barely do more than token changes in their own lives. They might replace a lightbulb or two (in lamps they rarely use) with CFLs or LEDs. But, especially when we look at all the leaders of “climate change” hysteria, and those in government and NGO’s who push this, they actually have increased “carbon footprints”.

But it would stretch credulity to push the comparison too far; obviously cars are not ‘habit forming’ in the sense that cigarettes are, and certainly do not have the addictive characteristics of certain hard drugs. The habit-forming effects of drugs such as nicotine and heroin are mediated by specific receptors in the brain. But it is of course meaningless to talk of a specific ‘brain receptor’ activated by exposure to a car advert. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to posit that our responses to brands in general, the preferences we develop and the behaviours that we subsequently exhibit as consumers (and more generally as citizens), have a neurobiological basis. This does not at all imply that such preferences and behaviours are deterministically ‘fixed’, in the sense that they can be modified by learning and experience, or even pharmacologically. If we are sufficiently concerned about the environmental impact of travel, we can by our own volition choose to run an electric car rather than a gas-guzzler.

This seems to be a starting premise of the intriguing new research field of ‘neuroconservation’, which despite its name has nothing to do with conserving neurons. Rather, as explained by Elisabeth Jeffries (page 776), one of its aims is to study how the brain responds to nature. A working hypothesis is that the way we come to value and appreciate the natural world may involve some of the same brain regions and ‘reward’ pathways involved in addiction. If that turns out to be the case, which is far from certain, it follows that understanding addiction – both at a neurological and psychological level – might potentially help to devise strategies for shifting people’s attitudes in relation to environmental issues such as climate change, thereby promoting climate-friendly behaviours.

It boils down to the notion that Warmists want to essentially brainwash everyone (else) to be “green”, and green doesn’t mean being a good steward of nature, which doesn’t give a damn about your CO2 output, but by reducing your own “carbon footprint” on the alter of a political leaning. If Warmists refuse to cure their own addictions to, well, just about everything, because almost everything is considered Bad For Climate Change, why should anyone else care?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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