“Our concept of nature as a symbol of virtue results in an incredible overemphasis on what individuals can personally, virtuously, do to ‘save’ it. This, unfortunately, comes at the expense of focusing on systematic changes. We can see it play out in the public conversation, the vitriol of the political spat, right down to neighborly tensions over SUVs versus Priuses.
Conceptual metaphors in language unrelated to nature also shape our actions. Think about the dominant conceptual metaphor: ‘Change is motion.’ We speak of climate change as ‘speeding up,’ having ‘momentum,’ and are even so bold as to suggest the goal is to ‘stop’ climate change. For substantial natural changes a big rolling boulder comes to mind. Our general call for mass behaviour change is, in a way, an organizational principle that is a natural entailment of this metaphor. We can conceive of ’stopping’ climate change because we can imagine the boulder coming to rest.
The truth, I daresay, is more complex — a bit more sobering, too. A better metaphor might be a big wave.”
— Carter Brooks