Thursday, September 26, 2013

Shouting into the void?

There's a GREAT piece over at New Scientist today (check it out here) that calls for a new way to communicate about climate change.

Courtesy North Central Community Association
They're right.  Here's a snippet:

"One of the most striking findings is that concern about climate change is not only, or even mostly, a product of how much people know about science. Increased knowledge tends to harden existing opinions (Nature Climate Change, vol 2, p 732).

These findings, and many more, are increasingly available to campaigners and science communicators, but it is not clear that lessons are being learned. In particular, there is a great deal of resistance towards the idea that communicating climate change requires more than explaining the science.

The IPCC report, due out on 27 September, will provide communicators with plenty of factual ammunition. It will inevitably be attacked by climate deniers. In response, rebuttals, debunkings and counter-arguments will pour forth, as fighting denial has become a cottage industry in itself.

None of it will make any real difference. This is for the simple reason that the argument is not really about the science; it is about politics and values."  (Emphasis mine.)

I continue to believe that it's also about pocketbooks and personal impacts. If people understand just how THEY will be PERSONALLY impacted - not "the planet," and not "in the future" - they might just listen up. 

The data bores people. The crystal ball gazing irritates people. Only by telling folks where the rubber will meet the road and sharing the ways this will be seriously screwing with them in very short order, can we hope to get a response that will push the political needle anywhere near getting us a solution.

And that needs to happen fast. In fact, not fast, but yesterday. Anyone have any bright ideas?