Why do people not believe in Climate Change?

What do you think about when you hear global warming or climate change? Take a minute to think about this question.

What is your first thought? Naturally occurring, sea levels rising, big oil companies, rainforests disappearing, foreign dependency, reef degradation, burning coal, reliable energy, flora & fauna vanishing, air quality, or modern day life. Ask ten different people & you’ll get ten different answers.

When I think about climate change, I wonder why there are so many skeptics. Why doesn’t everyone think humans are directly altering the climate? 97% of climate scientists believe humans are causing climate-warming trends over the past century [2]. Only 60% of the general public shares the same belief [1]. The rest of the population either doesn’t believe or don’t know. Why is this?

I enjoy discussing climate change with nonbelievers because I want to understand their viewpoints. Climate change is a sensitive subject bursting with passion on the same level as politics & religion. People are devoted to their theories, almost to stubbornness, unwilling to alter their views. Where does the unwillingness to believe stem from, e.g., political party, religious affiliation, industry, environment, family, friends, etc.? All affects it.

Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era & of human civilization. [2]

The public is confused by the colossal amounts of information available. Created by the contradictism stemming from big oil companies, politicians, or anyone with ulterior motives. Who really has the time to decipher all the misguided information to clarify their understanding?

Fortunately, the belief that humans are affecting climate change has increase through the years, but unfortunately its not moving fast enough.

How did this belief happen?

Lets start with the term Global Warming. It is an accurate term for what is happening, unfortunately it can cause confusion. The name provides the interpretation that every area on the planet is warming, which is not the case. Certain regions will experience warmer conditions & others won’t. Global warming takes into account temperatures over the entire planet by providing an average, which has been trending up since the industrial period.

What this means is that the large amounts of snow the U.S. received in March doesn’t dispel climate change, but actually is a reflection of the changes occurring. As the climate changes weather patterns will become erratic, e.g., precipitation increasing, but over sporadic events; & more hurricanes & tornados.

Current system = culture of mistrust.

The large amount of information is overwhelming & complicated. Individuals / organizations like to point out the severity of climate change, creating a belief that the average person’s contribution doesn’t matter. A belief that small actions don’t matter.

On the other hand people also cannot comprehend that their actions, the actions of one individual can alter something as large as the Earth.

Global warming is a gradual process. It doesn’t affect us directly, just indirectly. People can’t see or touch climate change. It’s a complicated matter that for a person to believe in climate change, one must be willing to accept that our way of life is wrong. Their belief & intelligence is being questioned because of their tunnel vision.

Now is the Time

It’s time for a paradigm shift addressing the way we fight climate change. Lets change the alarmist rhetoric to bringing the general public together by creating an improved quality of life all citizens. This direction will lead to a stronger economy, health improvements, & increase domestic dependency.

It will take sacrifices, but if everyone is willing the sacrifices won’t be as overwhelming. It won’t take severe adjustments, but it will take adjustments.

Fossil fuels are ingrained in modern society that we cannot fathom a future where it is not a dominating force. However, to improve quality of life for everyone we must think the impossible. It’s not about fighting climate change or global warming. It’s about creating a cleaner, more dependent future built on equality for ourselves, neighbors, & communities.

For us to really fight climate change, we must persuade the nonbelievers. For this to happen we need an improved approach to educate the general public.

References:

  1. LiveScience
  2. NASA
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