Huffington Post: Why We Panic about the Coronavirus but not about the Climate Crisis


Michele Wucker was interviewed in the Huffington Post “Why We Panic about the Coronavirus but not about the Climate Crisis,” published on March 13, 2020.

“With climate change and the coronavirus, things seem to go slowly until all of a sudden they go fast. While they’re still going slowly is when you have a chance to stop them ― but, of course, people don’t usually act until they are about to get trampled,” she said.

“The coronavirus can set a very real example for climate change: The sooner you act, the more chance you have of surviving. This is true for individuals, organizations and governments alike. Everyone needs to buy in.

In both cases, individual people are more likely to act if they feel they can do something concrete that makes a difference, especially when it affects them personally.

With the virus, it’s washing hands thoroughly, working from home, avoiding crowds. With climate change, it’s tracking the emissions you create and reducing them.

And governments and organizations are more likely to act if they know that their constituents demand it. Businesses are waking up to climate change because investors are recognizing the potential impact on their supply chains and central banks are warning of the potential impact on financial stability. We still have a long way to go before we solve the problem, but the momentum is picking up. We need to use that momentum and accelerate it.

The thing about obvious dangers is that we don’t pay attention soon enough because they are so obvious. It’s like living next to a train that you learn to tune out so you can sleep. But when we remember that we are vulnerable to missing the obvious, we can consciously change that. 

I ask people to imagine a giant rhino charging at them, with the name of whatever their challenge is written on its forehead. What’s your gray rhino? And what are you doing about it?”

Read the full article HERE.

Michele Wucker

About Author

Michele Wucker is a global thought leader and the author, most recently, of THE GRAY RHINO: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore (St Martin's Press, 2016). Learn more about her at

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