I wrote the following in the course of a conversation on the WELL in a climate change thread. It seemed worth porting over here.
There’s a sense that nothing we do [not just with respect to climate change – in all aspects of life] ever makes anything better. So, why bother? No matter what we try, headlines and social media posts persist around the theme that we live in uniquely awful times. It’s bullshit. We don’t. But cynicism masquerades as wisdom, so try observing that we live in historically pretty good times. You’ll quickly get hit with a straw man to the effect of, “oh, just because things were shitty 200 years ago, we should pretend that everything is perfect now.” As if those are the only choices.
If any of the cynicism and nihilism is justified, it might well be in the context of climate change. But I think the flood of learned helplessness in other areas of life makes it tough for us to feel like we can deal with climate change in any meaningful sense.