Seismologist Lucy Jones on climate change: ‘We need to feel angry about it, we need pride in addressing it’

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At a climate rally in London, an activist holds a sign that says, “If you are not angry, you are not paying attention.” Photo by AVM Images/Shutterstock.

Earth Day is an annual reminder that everyone can help protect the planet. Lucy Jones, LA seismologist and author of “The Big Ones,” is trying to inspire people to do more by tapping into their emotions. 

In addition to being a scientist, she’s also a musician, playing the viola da gamba. Jones wrote a song to synthesize climate change data going back nearly a century and a half. 

“I wrote this originally for myself,” Jones tells KCRW. “I didn’t expect it to have much popular appeal.” 

But she sees that music can help people understand the real threat of climate change. 

She says that people fear earthquakes because they can feel them, whereas climate change can seem like “it’s taking so long.” 

She adds that when scientists explain climate change, it seems like it’s understood. “And if it is understood, it’s not as scary, which is only true if we actually use that information to deal with it.”

And so, Jones says, people aren’t emotionally responding to climate change in the right way. 

“We need to be more frightened of it. And if we just feel sad about it, that’s a disempowering emotion. We need to feel angry about it. We need pride in addressing it … instead of just despair at ‘what can I do?’ And so it is an emotional change we need in our society to really deal with climate change. And what is music but a way to inspire emotion?”

Credits

Guest:

  • Lucy Jones - seismologist and author of “The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them)” - @DrLucyJones