Is Climate Change Real?
There are a number of people who are skeptical of the climate change discussion. According to a report released by Public Religion Research Institute, that number includes more than one quarter of Americans. So how can these deniers not believe it is a real problem when 97% of scientists say that the Earth's climate is changing? What makes these nay-sayers believe that climate change is not real? The most common answer given is that they do not personally notice a change in the weather around them, and the weather where they live is actually getting colder. Here, Ranger Mac will take a deeper look into the question that never seems to get a universally-agreed-upon answer, “Is Climate Change Real?”
Why is There So Much Science Denial?
It's easy for people to deny the findings in science, and it's due to the complex relationship Americans have with the field of science. Some people simply dismiss fact-based evidence as being untrue or biased and are sometimes more accepting of ideas that are not factual.
Trying to budge a persons's beliefs is difficult, since most citizens are not trained scientists who weigh all the facts before making a decision. When someone truly wants to believe something, they end up acting more like lawyers trying to support what they want to be true. To do this, most people will cherry-pick the evidence that's able to support their claim while ignoring the rest. Emotions run high, making matters worse for changing minds.
How to Change Minds
As much as it makes sense to just tell someone a fact and have them believe it and change their stance, this is not what happens. It's human nature to believe that we are knowledgeable and right. If you show a person their idea of the fact and then show them the actual evidence side by side, this will often make them more defensive than open-minded to the fact. To help a person see that climate change is real and get them to see the entire spectrum instead of their chosen ideas, you should start more subtly in the way you try to change their attitude. Basically, you want to use their weight against them (to borrow a martial arts phrase) while not appearing to attack their beliefs.
To make this approach work, people who accept scientific facts might try and get at the root of the disbelief of those who do not. They will then address this point rather than address the initial denial. Using this approach for talking on the actual fact of climate change can be difficult, however, since the underlying motive is not always clear. Try to have an open conversation and listen to the one you are talking with. Do not jump right to the facts, even if they are valid. It's best to hear someone through and then take their points and talk to them about the facts that relate to those points.
The Facts of Climate Change
It's Thanksgiving dinner and uncle Roy has had a little too much to drink. While he's spouting off ideas that are known to be untrue and you want to confront him, it's best to be armed with supported facts. If you know you're going to be talking with someone who does not believe in the science of climate change, you first need to know the current view of the scientific community.
97% of scientists believe that climate change is real for a reason. Looking over the trending numbers in years past, it's clear the change in temperature is due to human actions. The use of fossil fuels is a big factor in the changing climate. There are many resources you can use to cite the facts, but make sure they are reputable sources with good science behind their claims. Here is a great post from NASA that goes over the facts of climate change.
There are some skeptics of global warming who will forever believe it is something made up or not happening. They will always use a mix of talking points to prove their point. Your lecturing them on the actual facts will not budge their stance. That is okay. This is a process that needs awareness and an openness to talk to those who may not initially understand the facts.
If you want more information on nature, hiking, and other outdoor activities, check out Ranger Mac's other blogs, such as this one that goes over the difference between soil and dirt!