Jamil Zaki

    DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Touching the past can connect us to the future” – released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in April 2022

    “Empathy evolved as one of humans’ vital survival skills. It is only through our foray into the modern world that we have lost touch with our evolutionary empathy. Deeply empathic people tend to be environmentally responsible, but our caring instincts are short-sighted and dissolve across space and time, making it harder for us to deal with things that haven’t happened yet. Touching the past can connect us to the future, especially when we look back fondly. Gratitude toward the past might empower us to help those who come after — a kind of golden rule across time,” stated Jamil Zaki.

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    CARING FOR TOMORROW: Why haven’t we stopped climate change? We’re not wired to empathize with our descendants, says Dr. Jamil Zaki, director of the Stanford University Social Neuroscience Laboratory

    “Human activity is now a dominant force in shaping the Earth’s environment, but humanity’s moral senses have not kept pace with this power. Our actions reverberate across the world and across time, but not enough of us feel the weight of their consequences. Empathy could be an emotional bulwark against a warming world, if our collective care produced collective action. But it evolved to respond to suffering right here, right now. Our empathic imagination is not naturally configured to stretch around the planet or toward future generations,” wrote Jamil Zaki.

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