Hello dear readers!
How has your week been? ^-^
Concerning last week’s topic on climate change denial, you may have once asked: Is there anything that can be done to change the mindsets of those climate change deniers?
Well, we’ve now learnt that going on about the scientific evidence underscoring climate change may not be the most effective.
Writer Karin Kirk acknowledges this in an article she wrote for Yale Climate Connections. Based on her personal experiences, she proposes a framework for communication with people who refute the reality of the environmental crisis. Also referencing a Big Think post regarding the same article, I have summarised Kirk’s approach into three key steps below:
- Identify the kind of denier you’re dealing with, based on Kirk’s range of categories (see image above).
- Mould and steer the conversation to be about matters relatable and of concern to that particular kind of denier.
- Discern if your conversation is really necessary – “trolls” (people who entertain themselves by getting into online fights) should be ignored, while “ideologues” (people who cling to their political affiliations) need not be convinced to believe in climate change per se.
Susan Joy Hassol, director of Climate Communication, is quoted on some examples in Kirk’s write-up, one of them being: When met with the “uninformed”, we should share how climate change will negatively affect their well-being, children, and expenditures. These topics are more likely to strike a chord in them as compared to any news about hungry polar bears.
Not knowing anyone who denounces climate change personally prevents me from trying out Kirk’s framework for the time being, but I do believe these ideas are important. One of the goals of my blog is to explore how people can be convinced to save the Earth, and her suggestions would seem more useful than having arguments and forming an “us” versus “them” mentality.
Both the Big Think and Yale Climate Connections articles emphasise a category I think most of us can identify with: the “informed but idle”. Big Think writer Matt Davis calls upon readers to go full force in telling this group about the devastating consequences of inaction, but without making the situation seem unsalvageable. However, it was at this point I questioned, “If these people already knew the widely-accepted truth, would telling them more of the same thing stir them from inaction?”
Zooming out, how feasible is it to target all climate change deniers with information specifically tailored to their “needs”? Is there a way to change behaviour without much direct communication?
Stay tuned for future updates…
Until the next post, thanks for reading!
Here’s a study relevant to what I covered in today’s and last week’s post:
Promoting pro-environmental action in climate change deniers