The Planet

Scientists Discover An Environmental Message That Resonates With Conservatives 

by Tod Perry

February 21, 2017
via Twitter

While 97 percent of climate scientists agree that humans are the main cause of global warming, there’s a huge rift among Americans. 79 percent of Democrats and just 15 percent of Republicans accept climate science. The major chasm has little to do with education. Democrats with more science knowledge are more likely to believe that climate change is caused by human activity. But when it comes to Republicans, scientific knowledge has virtually no impact on their opinions.

So how can scientists help Republicans come to grips with the reality of climate change when exposing them to scientific facts doesn’t work? A new study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA may have found the right approach. A recent experiment asked self-identified liberals and conservatives what they would do with a $0.50 donation they had to give to an environmental charity. One charity’s focus was on reinstating a healthier Earth from the past, while the other emphasized preventing future environmental degradation.

The study found that conservatives were much more inclined to donate to the charity whose messaging emphasized restoring the Earth to its past state. This new data gives scientists a way to frame climate change information to make it more appealing to conservatives. This type of messaging embraces the conservative value of preserving the past while mitigating their skepticism towards change. Who knows, maybe if climate scientists started wearing red hats that said “MAKE EARTH GREAT AGAIN,” conservatives might really start paying attention. 

 

 

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Scientists Discover An Environmental Message That Resonates With Conservatives