Friday, January 15, 2016

Does psychology explain the reason "Sea Level Rise" isn't gaining traction in south Florida?

It seems every day another study comes out about 'sea level rise' in south Florida and the net effect seems nil on the populace. Pictures showing Miami under water and a little sliver that will remain of Florida in the future don't have any impact on the present. Miami continues to grow and so does Palm Beach County, All Aboard Florida is sinking (pardon the pun) almost $2 billion into a new rail project, and there is no slowing of future population growth projected. It's boom time in the state again despite the appeals from the 'sea level rise' and 'climate change' believers.

Is the sea level rising? Who knows, maybe or maybe not. This article in CityLab seeks to explain how people perceive risk and they use the example of earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest. Here is the subtitle of the article: Terrible natural disasters will come someday, but most people have a hard time worrying about stuff that isn’t imminent.

One of the ways people identify with risk is emotionally. Here is an excerpt from that part of the CityLab article:
     Studies show that when people calculate risk, especially when the stakes are high, we rely much more on feeling than fact. [emphasis added] And we have trouble connecting emotionally to something scary if the odds of it happening today or tomorrow aren’t particularly high. So, if an earthquake, flood, tornado or hurricane isn’t immediately imminent, people are unlikely to act.
     “Perceiving risk is all about how scary or not do the facts feel,” says David Ropeik, a risk-perception consultant who has written multiple books on the subject. “A risk in the future feels a lot less scary than a risk that’s presented right now.”
     This feeling also relates to how we perceive natural, as opposed to human-made, threats. We tend to be more tolerant of nature than of other people who would knowingly impose risks upon us—terrorists being the clearest example.
Larry the Lenz in Lake Worth, FL, has his own take on sea level rise you may or may not find amusing but does present some interesting facts in an entertaining fashion.