How to talk about climate change so people will act.

Shanon Koessler

With climate change being one of the largest problems the world has faced, scientists have started realizing they need to make the people more aware of the issue. They performed an experiment where participants were randomly assigned to one of three scenarios: Some were asked to write a paragraph talking about the ways they personally cause climate change. Others reflected on the ways that climate change is collectively caused. The third subjects wrote about daily routines (brushing teeth, say, or drinking coffee) this having no mention of climate change.

They had told the participants that one lucky person could be the winner of 100$. Participants were asked that is they were to win, how much of that $100 would they be willing to donate to climate-change efforts. The group that was found to want to donate the most money was the one who wrote about how climate change is caused as a community. The group who talked about how they personally cause climate was found to donate much less than both other groups.

“We had hypothesized that thinking about climate change in any way would incline people to donate more to climate change but that’s not what happened. People only consistently gave more when we encouraged them to think about the collective causes of climate change.” This shows that in order to get through to people, we must show everyone how we, as a community, are making this a bigger issue every day.

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