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Uncertainty Sown: Why Americans Don't Care Enough About Climate Change


#1

Uncertainty Sown: Why Americans Don't Care Enough About Climate Change

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Despite the overwhelming evidence that global warming poses an existential threat to planetary life as well as the growing global consensus that it is something we should be "very" concerned about, new polling released this week finds that Americans are way behind when it comes to taking the issue of climate change seriously.


#2

US has a "continental climate" with relatively large ranges of temperature. Take for example a state like Minnesota. Back when I lived there, I saw summer temperatures of 100F one year. And winter temperatures as low as -38F. So people in live in places like this with long, cold winters likely don't see "global warming" as a problem that will effect them. And while the coastal states of the US tend to support Democrats, the middle portion of the US is strongly Republican. And Republicans don't see "climate change" as a problem assuming they believe that it actually exists.


#3

When you consider that a third of Americans think the Earth was created less than 6000 years ago and a quarter of them think the Sun goes around the Earth... No big surprise here.


#4

My friends, there is so much ignorance in our nation, it isn't funny; in fact, not just ignorance; prideful, nationalistic ignorance that brushes aside any reasonable presentation of information. I've seen it time and time again.
How our earth can take much more, I don't know. Because the frightening truth is that she simply can't.
And how it is that "man" has lasted as long as he has on this planet is the biggest mystery there is, period.


#5

Since virtually all reputable climate scientists are saying climate change is real and an extremely serious threat it would seem impossible for any amount of money spent by Exxon or the Koch brothers to create doubt. That is, if you trust scientists which seems a no-brainer given the reputations of scientists ranging from Einstein to Watson and Crick. So there must be another America where scientists are not trusted. This America must believe scientists are trying to put forth a liberal agenda, selecting data that will lead to more and more grants, or simply fudging the data. This is also an America which thinks that most of the mainstream media is part of a liberal conspiracy and therefore there is no trust in news reports about climate change. The only people they really trust are people like Rush Limbaugh. That is where they go to get "the truth."


#6

Why are Americans so unconcerned? The Main Stream Media!
This subject has not been covered in a forceful way in any of the so called News channels.( Well, except for Fox, who is screaming that Nothing is Happening.) Americans figure that if Climate Change is really happening, that their favorite Pundit would get excited. I mean, Who would be so Nuts as to deny Climate Change and have to defend it to his Children when it is too late to mitigate it?? Who would condemn the Oceans, and all the fish there of, and The Earth, and all the Creatures there of, to extinction??
What Politician, What Scientist, What Media Owner would be so Evil, as to push Humanity into the Abyss of History?? Look to Congress for that answer.


#8

Why bother with facts when you have well spun innuendo? Too many voters here and elsewhere have no critical thinking ability, or desire to think critically. They also end up believing who screams the loudest and most often. The result is a constant shooting oneself in the foot.


#9

Now Matt share with us your angst against those invested (e.g., Koch Industries, Exxon,etc.) in spreading disinformation and propaganda for a fucking buck, IF you have such.


#10

The answer to this and many other puzzling questions about America, is the love affair with the motor vehicle and how much lead they put into their environment, basically their judgement and knowledge on many issues is really quite poor as a result of systemic lead poisoning (note the ages of the greatest deniers and the time period of greatest exposure to lead in petrol).
People seemingly can accept the influence that lead poising had in the increase in crime in the US but can not accept that it also did affect the majority of them to some degree, reducing their morality, caring and thoughtfulness (not that the rest of us of similar age in modern societies escaped, just simply less affected).
Hence repeated poor judgement on many issues and a willingness to publicly prefer comfortable lies over uncomfortable truths.


#11

I think our media is mostly to blame and not only the news either. We are a media conversant society first and foremost and climate change is just not featured either in the news media nor even the entertainment media.
Ever wonder why there has been no blockbuster movie showing what things will be like in 2050? Or even by century's end? I don't mean a whole movie about a single storm's impact but of what our society will be like with drought, blistering killer heat, forests gone, oceans dead, crops failing, spreading diseases and useless antibiotics ...everything we all know and talk about on CD ? People are not learning about it. They know what it is but they think that if it is so important then where is it in the media?

No joke! Where is the movie about it? Americans aren't all dumb but many of us have become habitualized to passive learning. We 'pick it up' as we go along from the news and conversation but climate change is never discussed past the initial generalities. We all know what climate change is but that is as far as our knowledge goes. It is all a surface treatment. In depth knowledge is non existent in our media. It is as if Americans have only the kiddie version of climate change and not the serious adult version. We know the issue now but that is only how far we take it.

After awhile the kiddie version grew boring and we stopped learning. The adult version means understanding that the government did this or that (a solar credit or a carbon tax) and discussing the merits etc. The kiddie version is seeing nothing is being done (at least in the media) and talking endlessly that something will have to be done someday.


#12

Seems you missed the great analogy that was 2012 in which the earth is destroyed while a few elites, and our hero with a couple of cute kids, make off in their pre-planned, well prepared escape 'arks.' They are trying to make it seem like 'you' will be among the ones who get away safely so who cares about the rest, right? The elite agenda was made remarkably clear to those who did not believe for one minute that they would be included or think it would be a good outcome even if they were on board.


#13

That isn't a climate change movie. That was a disaster flick. I am talking about the everyday world not the exceptional incident like a super storm or asteroid or geothermal catastrophe.

Just plain old too damn hot over 2C climate change - that brings with it economic chaos, possible fascistic excess and hundreds of millions of refugees etc plus the truly devastating environmental changes like dead oceans etc.

No big finales just our ordinary daily life in a very much changed environment. That movie people would learn from.


#14

Expounding on the adult version theme…

The adult version accounts for the facts of power and money in regard to control of the media i.e., the direct ownership of media by corporations invested in sewing distrust of the science, giving more than equal weight to non-science based narratives derived from Big Energy front groups and public relations firms.

The adult version accounts for the bought off politicians by the predominance of Big Energy lobbyists, campaign contributions, takeover of regulatory agencies, and writing of legislation at the local, state, and federal level by extra-legislative groups like ALEC.

The adult version accounts for the power of Big Energy to secure taxpayer funded subsidies, loan guarantees, public lands for pennies on the dollar, while lobbying lawmakers to divert future funds their direction and away from greener technologies.

The adult version accounts for the power of Big Energy at the local, state and federal level in the courts where protesters, land owners, and anyone else standing in their way gets served with lawsuits, gag orders, notices of imminent domain, and further harassment and even potentially injury or death, and the protection in the courts from liability concerning so-called trade secrets.

The adult version accounts for the externalized costs of their production operations, infrastructure environmental impacts, environmental and human health costs of their negligence.

The adult version accounts for their monopolized position within an economy of scale that makes it easy for two bit paid warriors, not you, to post comments along various memes i.e., that if a person drives a car they have no argument.


#15

Congratulations! In voicing angry minimizing and denial of the real extent and existential treat posed by climate change, you join the minions of corporate criminals and bloviating idiots that define much of our country. Never mind what climate scienctists actually know you are a skeptic, and therefore feel smarter. And so it goes in our dumbed-down empire as we march toward a dead world.


#16

Many Americans are in denial about climate change because they do not want to face up to the fact that they will have to change their lifestyles, not just a little but a lot. They are going to have to deal with inconvenience and discomfort and they want to pretend they don't or resort to violent behavior when they are forced to like some unruly adolescent.


#17

Americans believe that they are the best informed people (not to mention the most intelligent, etc.) in the world, while they are actually just the "most" informed. Big difference.

But it goes beyond Americans. We may be the worst, but it's a human species thing. After all, since humans are completely separate from and superior to all of nature, why should we be afraid of climate change? We're gods little darlings, aren't we? Created to rule, abuse and destroy the world around us if we fell like it...


#18

What troubled me about that movie was that you really didn't see much of the actual suffering and death that such a storm would produce...and even worse, the movie ended with a beautiful sunrise and the message that this was all just a cleansing process and everything will be just hunky-dory again in a few weeks...


#19

No worries here since there is only one planet that we know of where we can live. So we should just keep treating this pristine place as if it is disposable.


#20

Actually, as someone who has taken steps at household carbon footprint reduction, the inconvenience is either pretty damn minor, or quite the opposite of inconvenience. Living and working in a walkable urban space with lots of interesting places to walk or ride a streetcar or bus to, and being free of the need to purchase, park, clean, service, license, insure, scrape, shovel-out a 3000 pound, $20,000 monstrosity, is positively liberating. Bicycling, or riding a battery-electric motor scooter to work and errands is exhilarating and fun. Gardening and composting all the waste so it makes fertilizer instead of methane in a landfill is a fun pastime.

The problem is that suburban USAns have been reduced by an economic system and media and physical infrastructure to a state where they have a profound lack of imagination or creativeness about their lives, and are frightened to death of even the tiniest, tiniest degree of change. You should hear them railing, for some inexplicable reason, about bike lanes or improving bus service where I live!


#21

Sad but true - of course changes in precipitation to a the predicted deluge-and-drought pattern (as we are already seeing wher I live) and more frequent and hotter summer heat waves will significantly damage middle-USA's biggest economic resource - agriculture.

But based on your nick, I presume that you are fine with this "but what does this have to do with me-me-me" attitude. It's what your Ayn Rand advocated.