Rejection from distrust, religion, and culture

I have just mentioned the responses where we find it difficult to accept new ideas that at are far from our previous experience. To me this seems a reasonable attitude, but I am more surprised that we can strongly apply a total disbelief to ideas or information, even when we can see tangible evidence in front of us.

One of the unexpected responses ofhuman behaviour is how strongly we can apply our prejudices and conditioning to totally reject and not believe in facts, not just reported to us, but ones where we can also examine the evidence. A very remarkable example, which I saw on television, was a programme discussing the value of recycling waste materials. The logic of this concept is obvious, as it can minimize exploitation of new resources, increase availability of raw materials, minimize processing costs, reduce the scale of landfill waste disposal, and, not least, when well managed, offer financial benefits to councils that do this efficiently.

The programme interviewed a group of articulate people who not only did not make any attempt at recycling of their waste materials, but emphatically stated their total disbelief that the local councils actually took any action, despite the official public statements. Distrust of some councils or central administration may be justified, but totally surprising was that having seen the recycling plant, they still felt it was solely intended to reduce the volume of landfill! Only after being presented with products made from the recycled material, and been informed of the scale of income that it generated for the council, did they manage to reassess their prejudices, and realize it was valuable on many counts, and a more sustainable way to handle the rubbish.

In principle, efficient, well-organized recycling should reduce the drain on natural resources and therefore is to be encouraged. For the public, a difficulty is that such schemes are variable, so no clear pattern emerges. The TV example additionally showed that the relevant council had failed to effectively tell its public how efficient they were and how profitable it was to their city, and to emphasize the more general benefits of the policy.

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