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Journal Information
Vol. 1. Issue 2.
Pages 96-112 (July - December 2015)
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Vol. 1. Issue 2.
Pages 96-112 (July - December 2015)
Original article
DOI: 10.1016/j.bioet.2015.12.003
The barriers to climate awareness
Las barreras a la toma de conciencia del problema del clima
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Peter Kempa,
Corresponding author
kemp@dpu.dk

Corresponding author.
, Lisbeth WitthØfft Nielsenb
a Danish Institute of Education University of Aarhus, Copenhagen, Denmark
b Department of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
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Abstract

Climate change is a global environmental problem that is directly influenced by human activity. Yet, environmental awareness, is not reflected in our actions, and the environmentally harmful actions we know not to do, we tend to do anyway. In this paper we provide a philosophical analysis of the cognitive barriers that may block the individual citizen's acknowledgement of a personal responsibility to engage in climate responsible behaviour. We distinguish between two types of cognitive barriers; the physical barriers, that are associated with the way we gain knowledge about climate change and the physical world state; and the psychological barriers, that arise from ideas about ourselves and the nature that surrounds us. Finally, we discuss the climate problem in light of the idea of the world citizen and the ethics of sustainability, and we argue that the interconnectedness between the individual and the collective contribution must be emphasized to show how humankind as a whole is conditioned by the many individual, local, and national forms of initiatives.

Keywords:
Climate change
Cognitive barriers
Ethical responsibility
Worldviews
Sustainability
Resumen

El cambio climático es un problema ambiental global influenciado directamente por la actividad humana. A pesar de la concientización ambiental y del conocimiento respecto a las acciones perjudiciales que debemos evitar, tendemos a continuar practicando tales conductas. En este documento, exponemos un análisis filosófico de las barreras cognitivas que podrían bloquear el reconocimiento individual del ciudadano con respecto a la práctica de comportamientos responsables con el medio ambiente. Distinguimos dos tipos de barreras cognitivas: las físicas, asociadas a la forma en la que nos informamos del cambio climático y la situación del mundo físico, y las psicológicas, que se derivan de ideas acerca de nosotros mismos y la naturaleza que nos rodea. Por último, analizamos el problema climático a la luz de la idea del “ciudadano del mundo” y la ética de la sustentabilidad, y argumentamos que debe hacerse énfasis en la interconectividad entre el individuo y la colectividad, para demostrar que la humanidad, como un todo, está condicionada por las numerosas iniciativas individuales, locales y nacionales.

Palabras clave:
Cambio climático
Barreras cognitivas
Responsabilidad ética
Visiones del mundo
Sustentabilidad

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