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YoungKillaH2 t1_jd50o5q wrote

In your experience, what are some effective ways to communicate about climate change to people who might be skeptical or dismissive of the issue, and how can we bridge the gap between different perspectives on this important topic?


washingtonpost OP t1_jd55anb wrote

You, like most people, probably know 97% of climate scientists conclude that the Earth is rapidly warming because of human activity. But that doesn’t convince everyone! Yale estimates only 11% or “dismissive” and 11% more are doubtful. So what do we do with this 22%?

I actually wrote about this a while ago, and there’s an excellent Reddit thread exploring this topic more:

So Yale Climate Connections analyzed 66 answers describing the motivation behind people’s conversion from denier to believer. The biggest reason was a slow acceptance of clear scientific evidence. For many, seeing graphs of atmospheric carbon dioxide and overwhelming data supporting the conclusion that humans are rapidly, catastrophically warming the planet was convincing. “It’s just difficult for me to deny it with the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that supports it,” wrote one.

But they have to get there first, and in many cases, people aren't even willing to consider these facts. That's where values come in.

Many people rejected climate science in the first place because of 1) their families 2) personal politics and identity, which were a close second. “Mostly because my family rigorously shot it down whenever it was remotely mentioned,” one person wrote in the Reddit thread. Another writer had grown up “actively and obnoxiously denying climate change because my dad told me it wasn’t real.”

A third major reason was a desire to avoid the enormity of the problem. “I really doubted it for a while, because honestly it scared me,” one poster wrote. “I figured if I just denied it and pretended it wasn’t a thing, it wouldn’t be and it would just go away.”

So how do you change peoples’ minds? Lead with values. Throwing scientific studies in people’s faces is likely to have the opposite effect, putting people into a defensive crouch. People tend to reject the validity of scientific evidence if it conflicts with worldviews.

You can present information in ways that already align with people’s beliefs without triggering emotional, defensive responses. As a good analysis of the research summarizes: "Conservatives are more likely to embrace climate science if it comes to them via a business or religious leader, who can set the issue in the context of different values than those from which environmentalists or scientists often argue. Doing so is, effectively, to signal a détente in what has [been] called a “culture war of fact.”

That gives facts a chance.


Suuperdad t1_jd88ozg wrote

This is pretty telling isn't it? Conservstives are more likely to listen to science from a religious leader or businessman than from a scientist.

This is the core problem.

Businessmen put profits over the environment. And Catholic religion (am a catholic) states that the earth is Man's tool to use and exploit.

So it's a major problem when the only people conservatives will listen to actually have a bias to deny climate science (AND aren't themselves scientists).