Why Extreme Weather Should Remind Us To Live More Lightly

I have great sympathy for those who have had their lives turned upside down by the recent storms. Many have had their homes and possessions damaged. But I am just wondering if this weather could be the result of man made climate change and a timely reminder for us all to continue to press on with living more lightly and supporting ecological change.

Extreme weather is upon us

Extreme Weather: Polar Vortex

The Polar Vortex

In North America the polar vortex is a large cyclone originating from near the north poll bringing heavy snowfall and record breaking drops in temperature. Apparently it was so cold people were throwing boiling water in the air to see it freeze and often scalding themselves in the process.

Meanwhile here in Britain we’ve been experiences floods and storms over Christmas and the New Year. The polar vortex is now threatening to swing by Britain. Although it may have broken up by the time it gets here. It may just produce more flooding.

Some in the States argue that the cold weather is evidence against global warming. But of course it isn’t that simple. Climate change produces freak variations rather than uniform warming.

Extreme weather could be the result of climate change

Our storms could be an early effect of climate change. For instance “This is Global Warming” declared the front page headline of Irish Examiner. “The increased ferocity and intensity of storms that battered the Irish coast in recent days can be attributed to man-made climate change, says one of the country’s foremost experts on climate change.”

Even David Cameron has recently linked the recent extreme weather that has wreaked havoc on Britain to climate change. But we do need to take this with some caution as the Met Office is saying that it is too soon to make such a link. Whether or not these are shown conclusively to be the effects of man made climate change I believe that there is enough evidence of the threat of climate change.

Climate change reminds us to live lightly

There is a global ecological crisis that we need to do something about – but what can we do? We can address the bigger picture in both our personal and professional lives by living lightly and strongly supporting ecological change.

Surely somewhere the vision for our life should contain some ecological evaluation that leads to a commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses rather than empowering ourselves and others to further wreck our world.

For a lot of us in the West with a comfortable life style increasing our income and our carbon footprint does not bring greater happiness. There is plenty to indicate that a simpler lifestyle with a reduced carbon footprint actually increases our own sense of well being as well as enabling others in the future to flourish.

As well as ‘living lightly’ by reducing our rampant consumerism there are other simple things that I am sure many of you do already:

  • Reduce our energy use
  • Take time to recycle rather than dump material in landfill
  • Use your own compost bin to compost food waste
  • Use charity shops when you are throwing out your old clothes or bric-a-brac
  • Buy second-hand and recycled products
  • Reduce your use of pollutants such as aerosols and pesticides
  • Where possible use environmentally friendly products
  • Think green and research greener options
  • Recommend these actions to your friends and colleagues

One person can make a difference! Together we can change the world in fundamental ways.

Further Reading

Positive Psychology and Climate Change
The Irish Examiner: Severe Weather Attributed To Human Impact
The Guardian: White House tackles climate change and polar vortex in Google+ Hangout
The Guardian: David Cameron right to link floods and global warming, say climate scientists
The Guardian: Too early to link UK extreme weather to climate change, says Met Office
The Ecology of Business

14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

Cloe Madanes argues that “…misery is an art form, and the satisfaction people seem to find in it reflects the creative effort required to cultivate it… So if you aspire to make yourself miserable, what are the best, most proven techniques for doing it?”
She even gives some advantages of misery:

• When you’re miserable, people feel sorry for you…
• When you’re miserable, since you have no hopes and expect nothing good to happen, you can’t be disappointed or disillusioned.
• Being miserable can give the impression that you’re a wise and worldly person, especially if you’re miserable not just about your life, but about society in general…

Here is her list of ways to be miserable:

1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss
14 habits of highly miserable people2. Practice sustained boredom
3. Give yourself a negative identity
4. Pick fights
5. Attribute bad intentions
6. Whatever you do, do it only for personal gain
7. Avoid gratitude
8. Always be alert and in a state of anxiety
9. Blame your parents
10. Don’t enjoy life’s pleasures
11. Ruminate
12. Glorify or vilify the past
13. Find a romantic partner to reform
14. Be critical

Cloe Madanes is teacher of family therapy. “Ultimately,” she concludes, “the therapist is your enemy when trying to cultivate misery in your life. So get out as soon as possible.”

If you haven’t guessed by now she is of course being ironic! Just do the opposite of all these points.

Please read the full article here.

5 Tips to Developing Your Social Intelligence

Social intelligence refers to your ability to understand social situations, other people’s behaviour and have insight into your own to use your social skills in appropriate ways. It is one of the 24 key character strengths of positive psychology that can be developed to promote well being and happiness.
08 -- Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: What You Need -- Some of the Icons for Anthony Iannarino's New BookHere is a very simple example of social intelligence:

“I’m having a party – would you like to come?” asks your friend.

Wanting to know what the occasion is a socially intelligent response might be to say “Is it a birthday?” with a curious yet slightly excited smile.

For a lot this might be a very common sense answer but some of us who lack this might find ourselves saying “What’s that in aid of?” in quite an abrupt grumpy tone.

Developing the strength of social intelligence can help you guard against such misunderstanding and give you a greater resilience to our relationships.

1. Practice assertiveness techniques

You can develop your social intelligence by reflecting on your own actions and responses and by learning specific assertiveness techniques.

These techniques give you of ways of saying things in kind ways that express what you are feeling or wanting without appearing aggressive. They are not ways of forcing people to do what you want them to do – that is a misunderstanding of assertiveness.

Social intelligence comes more naturally for some than for others. Sometimes you need to use very conscious techniques to compensate for a lack of natural social intelligence so that you can express your kindness and compassion towards people that otherwise they may be completely oblivious to your feelings.

2. Be aware of your non-verbal communication

A real advantage of offline face to face communication is all the body language and tone of voice that goes with it.

Sometimes you may feel that someone is being rude or aggressive to you and wonder why. If you lack social intelligence, it may be that something that you said has been misunderstood. It such cases it may be that your body language has communicated something that you did not intend.

If you are concentrating hard it may appear that you are worried.

If you’ve ever been frustrated at your computer for going slow you may have found that someone else takes your comments and body language as anger towards them.

3. Don’t fall into the vicious circles of misunderstanding

If someone responds to your frustration or concentration in a particular way then it may lead to you responding with irritation towards them – not understanding why they are in such a bad mood. You may feel that the other person was getting at you and so become defensive or even angry at them.

For about a year now I’ve worn hearing aids. My hearing had steadily decreased during my time in my forties. The result was that I spoke louder than I intended.

With hearing aids I found that speaking loudly or at least feeling that I have to speak loudly can make me appear more aggressive. I think just doing it may activate the stress response to some extent. This means that I began to feel angry by just doing it – even when there is nothing to feel angry about.

Then when someone responded to me as though I am angry then I did start getting angry and I found myself saying “Well, you started it”!

Vicious circle!

4. Use social intelligence online as well as offline

I think those of us who lack this social intelligence may come over better online as it gives us chance to think through what we want to say and how things might be misunderstood and misread before we say them. In face to face spoken conversation we rarely have that opportunity.

There is a danger of answering posts too quickly. Increasingly the online world is getting faster and if you stop to think through your comment you feel that the opportunity has past. Someone else might comment on the blog post, or the thread on facebook might get out of date and no-one see your comment.

But it is important to think it through what you right as you may come over unnecessarily aggressive or confrontational. What happens online is that one misunderstood comment can lead to another misunderstood comment.

5. Communicate authentically

Developing social intelligence is not about becoming manipulative. It is important to use it effectively that you are aiming to convey clearly your true intentions. By doing this your strengths of integrity is working alongside your social intelligence helping you to display other strengths such as kindness and patience.

Related posts

What is Positive Psychology?
How to be Assertive
How to be Assertive in Any Situation