July 2022 🌏 Climate Corner

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Paraphrasing an old song by Tina Turner, what’s trust got to do with it? With climate change, that is. Trust is fundamental to us as humans: the bedrock of our engagement with others as a social species, and of working collectively towards a better future. That’s what trust has to do with climate.

Every day, we confront situations with other humans that cause us to mistrust. Last week, I received a spam call telling me that I’d purchased a certain computer recently (which I hadn’t), and to press 1 if I didn’t or 2 if I did. There was no option to delete; I had to wait until the call was over without answering, and then delete. How many people got duped by that message and pressed 1 or 2? That same day, I received numerous other spam calls pretending to originate from my city, as well as spam email messages. The end result is that I have to view every phone call, every email, every website with suspicion, as does everyone else in this country. I suspect that this daily chronic assault on trust is corrosive.

We know that trust has declined in American society. In The Spirit Level, epidemiologists Wilkinson and Pickett report that trust has fallen from 60 percent to less than 40 percent by 2004, citing the General Social Survey from the National Opinion Research Center. According to the Pew Research Center’s research in 2019, nearly 3 out of 4 Americans think that...

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