In our critical reflexion on typical causes for delaying, downgrading, or rejecting climate change action, we explore “Change is impossible”, which falls under the category of resignation fallacies.
The Covid-19 pandemic has proven in a drastic way that changes in our behaviour and lifestyle are possible. Even drastic measures were accepted – at least in the beginning – to ensure our safety, and those of others. Governments have always been responsible for defining rules and laws to ensure peaceful coexistence and to protect the citizens.
This also applies to guidelines concerning climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Governments have the responsibility to provide the best possible present and ongoing life for their citizens, which clearly includes a liveable climate future – a right that is fought for more and more through climate lawsuits. However, this is only feasible if everyone accepts changes to their accustomed lifestyle in the next few years accordingly. This in no way means a reduction in the quality of life, as numerous examples show. With measures such as the obligation to wear seat belts, smoking bans or the lower speed limits introduced in the Netherlands only a few years ago, many people initially feared a reduced quality of life. However, after the introduction of these measures, people have seen a significant improvement in their quality of life and safety, and today the majority no longer wants to miss these measures, which were originally perceived as an unacceptable intrusion into their lives.
KNOWING helps to break down the positive effects of measures to the realities of people’s lives and to explain the systemic interactions so that people at different levels and from different groups in society can better understand the reasons behind the need for measures and the benefits that will be gained from them. Only if measures are supported by the people because they have recognised that they help them in the transition to a future worth living, we will have a real chance to shape this future.