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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Climate Change! Or Whatever. . .

Climate Change! Or Whatever. . .

My generation (or maybe just people in general these days) seems to be highly susceptible to apathy. A recent Gallup poll revealed that Americans’ concern for the environment is at a 20-year low. Of the eight environmental problems Gallup listed in the March survey (including issues like air and water pollution and the loss of tropical rainforests), “global warming” remained at the very bottom of people’s environmental concerns—with only 28 percent of those polled considering it a legitimate problem. Even more shocking, perhaps, is another recent poll that shows American’s belief that climate change even exists has sunk to an all-time low, despite mounting evidence and scientific consensus.

Of course, as the Gallup poll’s conclusion cites, there could be many reasons for the decline in concern: Some people view the environment’s conditions in the US to have improved over the past decades, making it a lower priority issue. Another factor to note is that other matters, such as economic prosperity and stability, have moved to the top of many American’s concerns.

Still, other reasons for this propensity toward apathy may be a bit more difficult to see at first blush.

It’s easy to scapegoat ill-informed media megaphones (eh-hem, Glenn Beck) and propagandizing anti-science organization like the Heartland Institute (who’s heavily endorsed by Exxon). But it’s rarely taken into consideration what we may be doing wrong within our own movement: How might the people who are promoting climate change awareness unintentionally be contributing to America’s apathy and demise in concern for climate change?


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