Social Research on Climate Change

by Juana Granados

How are the media and a storyteller similar? Grasping the attention of the audience is always the main objective. As scientists try to understand the climatic changes and the effects, there exists a prevailing issue of miscommunication and contradiction. Scientists agree that the earth is undergoing a global heating. However, no one is certain about the actual societal effects. Are there going to be slight problems like a warmer earth or major ones like a change in the social system of humans? While society understands that the climate’s temperature is increasing, there is not yet a fear about its actual dangers. Some advances have been made to cope with global warming such as the Global Climate Coalition funding several groups aimed at climate change prevention. Nonetheless, there is no sense of committed dedication to an issue that is top priority, for the Global Climate Coalition ironically is funded itself by a fossil fuel industry. This lack of concern to the changing climate is due to the low priority of scientific, environmental concerns within the overall government.

Public policy is at risk if no one is informed. In a society where the newscast is our top informer of current events, people are vulnerable to misrepresentation of an event. News anchors have been found to focus their coverage more on emphasizing the drama of a story rather than its significance. Advances in preventing harsher, ecological effects can be accomplished if everyone focuses their time on listening to more than just the news on climate change but also understanding the science articles behind it. Based on a plethora of research polls and surveys, it was concluded that people are genuinely concerned about climate change. However, the number of concerned people concerned correlated with the amount of time the media gave attention to the issue during the timespan of the questionnaires. The way to have an informed society is based on how well the media accurately projects global warming because only through understanding will more people be willing to participate in efforts to prevent further climate change and amend public policy.

Trumbo, Craig W., and James Shanahan. “Social research on climate change: Where we have been, where we are, and where we might go.” Public understanding of science 9.3 (2000): 199-204.

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