I’m still eco-positive
I am a rare breed in today’s world, almost extinct. I am an eco-positivist. Whatever problems we face, we have the ingenuity and the technological brilliance to fix them. It may be nerve-wracking for a while but ultimately we’ll get there, and relative to humanity’s history so far, do rather well.
But recently I have discovered the concept of “negativity bias”, a programming in our brains that “forces” us to see the worst in things.
For my Fruganomics blog I search every day for good news I can spread about the environment. All of this I suspect causes most people I encounter to view me with some confusion. Poor deluded fool!
So who’s right?
So is negativity justified? Yes, we are destroying the planet faster than it can recover
I have long wondered why, in an unparalleled age of affluence and technological miracles, we all seem so down-in-the-mouth. Is it just “the media” – that convenient flogging post of universal ills?
No. It isn’t the media, it’s us! It’s not that there’s something in the media that is drawn to negativity – there’s something in us! And now I’ve found a book to back me up.
Negativity bias is in our genes
In a catchily-titled book called The Power of Bad social psychologist Roy Baumeister and journalist John Tierney explain how a bias towards negativity is actually built into our genes, and has probably helped humans survive up to this point.
For better or worse, “negative” images – maybe a polluted river or a poached elephant – stimulate more electrical activity in the brain than positive ones.
And research also shows negative images stay in the mind longer than positive ones.
We are all affected by negativity bias, but can we use it to help the environment? Baumeister believes we can break destructive patterns simply by overwhelming them with a greater number of positive ones. For some reason this number seems to be four.
What this means is that environmental activists should be exposing us to four times as many positive stories and images about the environment as negative ones. What this means is –
So good news guys! We can fix negative bias
To help you bring in four positive thoughts for every negative one and defeat negativity bias I have republished four recent positive news stories:
1 – Clean Energy
2 – Eco-Conscious Fashion
3 – Plastic Waste
4 – Banking and Finance
So, an eco-positive attitude works. If we all start looking at the things that went right as well as the ones that didn’t work out we’ll move faster towards fixing our relationship problems with our planet.
Ready for more eco-positivity? Read Are You Zen Eco-Positive?