Want to do something about global warming? Talk about it with your family and friends [latimes.com]


By Julia Rosen, Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2019.

There’s the old saying that you should never discuss politics or religion in polite company. Nowadays, it seems climate change has joined that list.

Barely more than a third of Americans broach the subject often or even occasionally, according to a recent survey by researchers at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

All this not talking about climate change has given Americans a rather skewed perception of what the rest of the country thinks about the issue.

The average person estimates that only 54% of her fellow Americans believe climate change is happening. In reality, 69% do, according to the same Yale survey.

The more we talk about global warming, the more we might move the needle on public opinion, the Yale team reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers found that simply increasing the frequency of climate-related discussions shifted people’s perceptions of the scientific consensus around human-caused warming as well as their own attitudes on the matter.

“These findings suggest that climate conversations with friends and family enter people into a proclimate social feedback loop,” the researchers wrote.

Matthew Goldberg is a social psychologist at Yale University and lead author of the new study. He spoke with The Times about climate silence and how to break it.

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