Why is the Term “Change” Such a Charged Word?

Change is hard. It can also be controversial. But what is it about the word “change” that can produce such harsh, strong reactions?

Perhaps the single-biggest example we can discuss in the natural world is climate change.

Many experts believe climate change to be the single-biggest threat facing the world today, more than any terrorist organization or threat of war. The rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have gradually warmed global temperatures, creating changing climates throughout the world. The speed at which this has been happening is primarily due to human activity.

But while there is overwhelming agreement in the scientific community about climate change, there still remains opposition—mostly from those who either fear or do not benefit from changing approaches to fuel usage.

A long history of climate change denial

The very first scientific mentions of human-caused climate change came a little over 50 years ago, when the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) delivered to the American Petroleum Institute a report called ”Sources, Abundance, and Fate of Gaseous Atmospheric Polluters.” This marked a very early attempt to explain the rising levels of carbon dioxide and the potential effects of that phenomenon.

The term “global warming” would not be used for another seven years, and scientist James Hansen would not testify about the beginning of global warming in front of congress for another 20 years.

But already there was opposition to these reports, primarily coming from the fossil fuel industry. This opposition grew fiercer and more political as time went on, largely due to the kind of “change” that an adherence to scientists’ findings would prompt in that industry and others.

This year, the United States pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, one of only three countries in the world to do so at the time, and now remains the only country in the world not in the agreement.

Fighting back against the denial

“Change” may be a charged word to some, but it’s going to take additional strong words to fight back against those who deny what all scientific evidence has already confirmed—the world is getting warmer, the sea levels are going to keep rising, and severe weather is going to continue to threaten human lives on larger and larger scales.

Anyone who has ever attempted to make any sort of big change on a large scale can tell you people are naturally resistant to change. People get comfortable and are hesitant to step outside of their comfort zone.

But eventually, everyone reaches a point where they will take a risk if it means saving themselves. It may feel like it’s too late to make a difference, but the more people are exposed to the truth behind the science, the easier it will become to convince them that immediate action needs to be taken. Contact Soil Advocates at  admin@soiladvocates.ca or 289-221-0164 for more information to help manage change in your business.

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By |2019-03-11T21:36:11-04:00March 12th, 2019|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

About the Author:

Dr. Leanne J Philip, BSc. (Hon.); MSc.; PhD. is the Managing Director & Chief Scientist of Soil Advocates Inc. She studied at the University of Guelph as an undergraduate (Plant Biology, Environmental Management and Urban Horticulture) and as a graduate student (Plant & Soil Interactions). She has a keen interest in soil sciences, which lead her to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver for doctoral studies in soil carbon sequestration and movement within British Columbia’s clear-cut soils. Further work in soil sciences in Europe and Canada reinforced Dr. Philip’s belief that soil processes and mechanisms belowground drive aboveground aesthetics and plant interactions. While active in both research, mentorship and teaching, most recently Dr. Philip has been working in applied soil sciences in industry and community outreach. Dr. Philip is a native of southern Ontario and is a strong advocate for scientific literacy within her community and responsible environmental stewardship.

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