EXTRACT from an article by Jamie Freestone, PhD student in literature, The University of Queensland.
It’s a well-studied fact that facts don’t speak for themselves. This is especially apparent with climate change. Some brilliant studies in the past ten years have shown that people respond to narratives about climate change, not raw facts.
We also know that politics, not scientific knowledge, shapes people’s view of climate change. Hence deniers are generally politically conservative, regardless of scientific literacy. That means a climate change narrative that appeals to conservative values is a high priority.
The effects of climate change are potentially catastrophic. Currently, a minority of conservative contrarians, including politicians in several countries, have an outsized influence on our lack of action. It makes sense that a big chunk of our campaigning efforts should be targeted at them.
But how many climate change campaigns are specifically targeted at people with a conservative worldview? Given what we know from the research, the answer is roughly none. Environmentalists, policy wonks and Brian Cox continue to preach to the choir. Yet more facts, lucidly explained, will actually make people double down on their pre-existing positions.
SOURCE: Freestone, Jamie. “To get Conservative Climate Contrarians to Really Listen, Try Speaking Their Language.” The Conversation, 16 May 2018.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia