Our brains do not know how to deal with climate change; A call for visionaries and leaders

The scientific stance that climate change is real is not truly debated. It is not actually a partisan issue at its core.  It is not at odds with any religion. It is not incomprehensible.

It is a big problem to solve, and the solutions to allow us to live a lifestyle that resembles what we live today while reversing climate change ARE complex, but it is not beyond us.

Landscape plants and wheelbarrow

Then why do we have such a problem taking meaningful action at the governmental, business, and personal lifestyle levels?

Bond Logo with fire and pollution

You will minimize the actuality of future risk rather than make a current sacrifice with a long-term payoff.

Your brain is wired to deal with imminent threats.  Most humans are framing climate change as an omnipresent, insurmountable, and future problem or denying that it is a problem altogether.

All of these stances naturally facilitate us doing nothing to make the changes we need to make.

Even if you believe that climate change is real and want to do something about it, your brain naturally assesses risk in a way that makes it unlikely to change current habits for what “might” happen in the future. Even if science proves that “might” is close to certainty.

It’s how your brain works. You will minimize the actuality of future risk rather than make a current sacrifice with a long-term payoff.  It takes effort to move beyond this limited way of thinking. As do most things that are worth doing.

We also resist doing anything that requires collective action to succeed until we see others doing it, the Bystander Effect.  George Marshall’s book “Don’t Even Think About It”  is an excellent start to understanding how our brains react to the climate crisis.

A call for visionaries and leaders

Yup, that’s you.

The majority of the landscape professions are asleep at the wheel or feeling uncertain how to enact change that truly matters. We need you to step up and take action.   That is how we engage the collective.  Ecologically literate landscaping needs to be more than a niche market.

Designer working

I genuinely believe and have seen the powerful effects of designing and building landscapes with a conscious focus on carbon literacy. No, it’s not for everyone. Only a select few visionaries and leaders see the value in this and are willing to take action. Please see our Cavanaugh study for a real-world example.

For you, we have built the Landscape Carbon Calculator.  This tool will help you bridge the gap between your current practices and providing viable solutions at the project level.


Give it a try and see what you think.


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