Why doesn’t the public demand action on climate change?

A new paper out discusses the interaction of science education and cultural beliefs on understanding climate change.  This paper is worth a read and the science has application for public relations in the fire world, particularly the Wildland Urban Interface.  A very interesting read.

The authors discovered that increasing understanding of science does not lead to acceptance or action on climate change.  They did learn that people tended to align their positions with that of their social groups.  In part because, even if individuals recognized the risk, they feel that they cannot do anything to improve the situation, but if they don’t align with their social group or cultural norms, the consequences are immediate and apparent.

What to do with the conundrum?  The authors discuss the need for real world experiments and an evidence based approach to communication.  While the modeling and lab work provides evidence and foundations, people relate better to tangible examples.  They advocate for science communicators, but also for researchers who study these communicators.  This way the communication process can be treated like an experiment and the best approaches learned.

View the paper >