Nina Davies
Nina Davies
 Can the Labour party find a cure for cognitive dissonance and change the world?

cognitive dissonance



  1. the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its long-awaited special report on climate change in the week following the Labour party conference in Liverpool. The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, had made much of the positive possibilities of changing Britain to a low carbon economy in his speech on the final day. I was impressed.

The report of the panel was intended, I am sure, as a wakeup call to the world. Basically, it gives up 12 years to change the way we are living or face unknown and possibly unparalleled changes to our planet.

So I asked myself, what does the phrase “a changing climate” mean to me? I raised the possibility of a discussion about this at our branch, LI Costa Blanca.

And I wonder what it means to you? What kind of future we can salvage for our children and their children? What can we do and what can the Labour party do about it? Should we act as individuals or collectively? Or both?

The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feelings of discomfort that result when our beliefs run counter to our behaviours and/or new information that is presented to us.

When international scientific bodies give warning after warning that we are moving towards a dramatic tipping point, that the stability of the planet on which live is in danger, not at some vague point in the future but within the next twelve years, we would expect a reaction.

Anyone who read any of the recent reports, or even heard a headline about them on the news, would have to be worried. Quite worried. Very worried, even. After all, it’s a question of survival. We survive as a species because we have the need to go on living, and the tools that allow us to do so, built into our genes.

Don’t we? But in fact most of have been in denial of the effects we are having on the natural world for the last forty or fifty years and most of us have neither significantly changed the way we live nor demonstrated publicly our desire for a government that will compel us, by law, to make these changes.

Then Corbyn spelt out how life enhancing moving to a low carbon economy could be. But unless you follow Labour party emails closely and/or read reports in the Guardian and the Morning Star, and on social media, you may not have heard about it.

“Almost all of Britain’s homes and businesses would be powered by wind, solar and nuclear power by 2030, under bold new green energy plans outlined by Labour.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary declares that the party is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the middle of the century. That would involve a sevenfold increase in offshore windfarms and a tripling of solar power, enabling nearly 20m homes to be powered by wind and solar.

Greenpeace said the adoption of a net-zero emissions goal for 2050 was “truly transformative”. Friends of the Earth said the energy proposals could help the UK seize the potential of “huge innovations happening in renewable energy technology.”

Labour said it had created a working group with unions to “ensure workers are protected” as the energy industry shifts from fossil-fuel power stations to a renewable future.”

This gives hope, this gives us a reason to do our part. But it requires us to ensure a Labour government committed to these policies is elected. A Conservative government will never put any of these plans into operation.

I will finish by posting a link to a Guardian comment article by Sharon George, because I think it points a positive way towards a change in thinking. She says that reusing and repairing can provide local jobs, like we used to have.

“One way to reduce waste is to stem the flow of mass-produced cheap products, at least until we have a solution. Prices should reflect life-cycle costs. Higher prices would mean we buy less, but value those goods more. We would hang on to things. Disposable items such as single-use plastics would be uneconomical and we would reuse more. This also cuts across those business models that rely on fast product turnover, especially in electronics (the fastest growing source of waste). This might create some economic disruption in the short term, but would open up new business opportunities around reusing, repairing and locally recycling goods. It would certainly stem the rising tide of unsustainable ‘recycling’ .”

Nina Davies

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