“Notably, none of the environmental disaster films draw on any insights from environmental science or ecology,” they wrote in their paper, which was published in ScienceDirect.
“We need to change our narratives because for all the damage greed and human malfeasance might do, in the end ignorance may be our worst enemy — especially when it comes to climate shocks, which we have only just begun to understand,” Kareiva said.
Kareiva and Carranza said that even though economic systems and human greed can bring great harm, these threats can be mitigated by government action. On the other hand, ignorance of complex human-natural systems that include positive feedback loops — whereby small actions are amplified by natural processes — pose the greatest existential risk, they argue.
For example, the paper notes, as carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere and the climate warms, the warming releases even more carbon dioxide from the ocean and land, compounding global warming. (For another example of a positive feedback loop, see UCLA professor Alex Hall’s video on the albedo effect.)