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The power of culture

We all are immersed in culture, and influenced by culture, often without recognizing its powerful effect on how we think, feel, and behave.

Culture is the water we swim in, as revealed in the old joke about two young fishes greeted by an old fish with, “How’s the water today?” Bewildered, one young fish says to the other: “What’s water?”

As it is for a fish in water, so it is for us in culture. Culture can be hard to see, but it’s always there.

The term culture has many meanings. One of its meanings is existing social mores, including attitudes, customs, values, and behaviors. Another meaning of culture is the influence those with power have to shift and shape values and to determine how people respond to the world. Culture includes mass media, advertising, language framing, social group pressure, education, government framing, social media, and more.

Among the topics explored in this section is what has been called the culture of uncare. It’s a culture that, in the current economic era, has led to the rise of consumerism, the erosion of caring values, and the widespread denial of the seriousness of the climate and ecological crisis.

Climate psychology includes an exploration of mindsets and collective behaviors shaped by culture, in particular whether it is a culture of uncare or of care. It includes an exploration into why people collude with a culture of uncare, but also into what cultural factors lead people to engage in positive climate action.