Climate Change Perceptions

A fellow colleague of mine, Anthony Leiserowitz, has been doing research since I knew him as a fellow graduate student in the Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy Program at UO on “Climate Change in the American Mind.”  Now at Yale, he continues to produce some of the most cutting-edge analyses of the relationship between human psychology, risk perception, and environmental problems.   Working among disciplines (psychology, public policy, communication, geography), Leiserowitz and his colleagues produce documents such as this, which are provocative and hugely relevant to literary and cultural studies.   In this document, the authors outline six categories of Americans (i.e. “the cautious,” “the alarmed,” “the doubtful”–sounds almost apocalyptic, eh?), and investigate the perceptions, attitudes, and values of these different groups.   Take note that this report comes from the same milieu of our “Apocalypse Fatigue” article (Yale).  It’s Leiserowitz and his Yale Climate Change gang who are doing the major research on climate change perceptions….

The report opens with the following quote, which is a fundamental issue for our class:

Communication about the risks posed by climate change requires messages that motivate constructive engagement

and support wise policy choices, rather than engendering indifference, fear or despair.

— Howard Frumkin & Anthony McMichael (2008)

What do we think?


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