Global Climate Change: The Train Wreck

You probably know about the Point of Inquiry podcast with D.J. Grothe. I, being rather slow only just found it.

The first episode I listened to was the fascinating interview with Matt Nisbet, an Assistant Professor at the School of Communication at the American University and Science Blogger. He is involved in trying to reframe the public discussion of science issues in order to deflate the arguments made by anti-science think-tanks. He wants to support science without talking about science itself. I fully support his way of trying to discuss this issue.

During his interview he talks about both his research and the importance of using scientific research – social scientific research – to train scientists on how public opinion and by extension public policy is formed. He realises that most people are not convinced to support science through the technical discussion of the issues. It is far better to redirect the discussion to the effects of ignoring the science. He uses the example of the evolution/idiotic intelligent design debate. My examples would say that can’t convince a non-scientist that evolution occurred by describing the 40 something proteins involved in the evolution of some obscure bacterial appendage. Far more important is to point out that top universities won’t admit students who don’t understand science or by pointing out that the US ranks ahead only of Turkey in international rankings on the belief in evolution.

Ass. Prof Nesbit also referenced an ad campaign about Global Climate Change created and funded by the AdCouncil. For more information go to  Their description of the campaign,

Three-quarters of all Americans accept that global warming is real, but only one-third believes that it requires immediate attention and action. These ads mark a watershed moment in the effort to stir the public’s consciousness about global warming.

In a survey conducted by pollster Whit Ayres of Ayres, McHenry and Associates, 71 percent of Americans recognized that  global warming is happening and more than half attribute the problem to human activity. But while an overwhelming majority (70 percent) of people polled agree that it’s possible to reduce the effects of global warming, only three-fifths (59 percent) thought it was possible they could do something about it as individuals.

I present the PSA’s below. The theme of both ads focuses not on the science and not on the here and now, but on the generations to come.

The first ad, ‘Train’ is probably the better of the two. It is both powerful and important. You might think about passing the word –um – video.




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