Climate change is not a snake

This interesting op-ed piece in the New York Times by Nicholas Kristof makes the point that our brain/minds did not evolve to deal with long-term threats such as climate change. Our response to immediate threats such as snakes or terrorist attacks is far more highly developed. The result is usually major over-reaction to terrorism as the invasion of Iraq illustrated. In contrast, concern about longer-term drowning of coastal cities is very hard to stimulate.

This article from the Guardian following the Brussels terrorist attacks also makes the point that over-reaction is exactly what the terror organisations want to precipitate. It is written by a man who was a captive of ISIS for ten months. He even suggests that using the language of war also plays into the propaganda of ISIS. Rather than casting these horrors as acts of war, they should be seen as acts of political violence carried out by, at the most, suicide bombers drawn from a small pool of indoctrinated extremists. Far more people die in western countries from slipping in their baths than from the acts of terrorists, as President Obama pointed out in relation to the USA.

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