Climate Change and Refugees

by Ethan Kurz

When thinking about climate change, the usual thought process leads to comments about changing weather patterns and how the world is heating up. However; according to Carment, Betrand, and Yiagadeesen; climate change shouldn’t be looked at from a scientific method, it should be looked at from a humanities perspective, and that is where the connection between Refugees and climate change emerges. Climate change has a large impact on developing countries, specifically countries with high fragility ratings. Climate change affects the development, security, and legitimacy of a state in addition to changing just the environment. The development or infrastructure of a country can be affected adversely though worsening weather conditions due to climate change. The security of a country can also be affected through extreme weather events, which are getting more common because of climate change. The legitimacy of a state may be brought into question as climate change causes bad conditions and the relocation of people. The effects of climate change on development, security, and legitimacy affect the poorest of the poor the most and cause these people to become displaced or refugees. Continue reading

Relating Climate Change and Gender Inequality

by Claudia Chandra

In 2016, Rebecca Pearse, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Sociology at The Australian National University, conducted a study exploring the relationship between gender and climate change. Her study addressed issues such as whether men and women are impacted by climate change the same way, if governance over climate change is gendered, and if women can potentially take on a role in climate stabilization. These questions are increasingly significant, especially since it has been established that gender relations and inequalities contribute to the development of society in the context of climate change. This knowledge challenges the gender-blind way in which data regarding social changes brought about by changes in climate are collected. Pearse calls for deeper gender analysis in order to stop the omission of “key aspects of social life in a changing climate” in future research endeavors. Continue reading

Can Mass Communication and Marketing Affect Climate Change Intervention?

by Pedro Ureña

The negative effect that climate change has on the well-being of our planet is well known and agreed upon throughout the science community. Gradual increases in global temperature have led to severe changes in weather patterns– including excessive rainfall in some areas and devastating drought in others– that are growing increasingly difficult to ignore due to their negative effects on public health. Some of these effects include injuries, fatalities and an increased vulnerability to certain waterborne and foodborne illnesses. Despite this common understanding of the direct and indirect negative effects of climate change, the general public does not often view climate change as a threat to public health. According to Maibach et al. (2008), properly influencing climate change-related behaviors amongst the population needs to be done through mass communication and marketing–in other words, spreading pertinent information to those who lack it. Continue reading

The Effects of Hostile Media Perceptions on Climate Change Activism

by Pedro Ureña

By conducting a nationally representative study using survey data, five professors (Feldman et al, 2015) set out to examine the effects, both direct and indirect, of hostile media perceptions on activism pertaining to mitigating climate change. They found that external political efficacy, or the belief and trust that one’s government is both willing and capable of responding to their demands, is negatively related to hostile media perceptions. Put simply, when people think that their views are unfairly targeted in the media they grow dubious of the media and, consequently, the government and its democracy. Continue reading

How Viable are Green Clubs?

by Caitlin Suh

Matthew Potoski (2015) analyzes a different method of dealing with climate change than with government policies and action that he calls “Green clubs.” Green clubs are the author’s nickname for voluntary environmental programs that target corporations as the subject of climate change adaption.

Green clubs are analogous with country clubs. Just as country clubs give their patrons exclusive bragging rights and use of their facilities in exchange for monthly or yearly dues, these green clubs offer a club good such as environmental technology or certifications of environmentally conscious business practices in exchange for their efforts to reduce the detrimental effects of climate change. Continue reading

Is Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Coalition a Success for Green Energy?

by Deedee Chao

Right before the UN COP21 climate talks in Paris in December, Bill Gates announced the formation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, comprised of 28 billionaires that would commit to investing in clean energy technologies. While this looks like an important step forward for the future of green energy, critics have pointed out a number of issues with the Coalition. For example, Fortune’s Dan Primack calls the Coalition a “work in progress” as it lacks any investment fund professionals, pledges by the billionaires involved, or a decided financial structure []. Two months later, no hiring, pledges, or news of any sort has been revealed- and the lack of pledges could be a cause for concern, as some of the “investors” have no track record in supporting green energy or environmentalism of any kind. Continue reading

Pollution and Politics

by Jackson Cooney

Republican senator, Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky has been pushing states to ignore President Obama’s global warming regulations. He argues that the administration’s anti-coal initiative aims to destroy America’s power generation under the pretense of protecting the climate. The EPA along with the President is requiring each state to submit a plan outlining how they are going to cut coal plant pollution. These plans will lead to the shutdown of hundreds of power plants in the Administration’s attempt to rely more heavily on renewable energy sources. As of now, 12 states have filed lawsuits in protest of this plan. However Senator McConnell has advised that the best way to fight this initiative would be to refuse to submit state plans. Continue reading

Capitalism or a Climate: Can You Have Both?

by Breanna Sewell

Hans Baer uses his 2008 article, “Global Warming as a By-Product of the Capitalist Treadmill of Production and Consumption—The Need for an Alternative Global System,” to address the causes and effects of climate change and the severity of it all. Baer classifies climate change as “one of the most important issues of the 21st century” along with the growing socioeconomic gap between the rich and the poor, which, he argues, are both caused by our capitalist society. Continue reading

Who Cares About Climate Change in Wales?

by Phoebe Shum

Getting people to do something about climate change can be a tough feat. Eleri Evans, PhD candidate at Swansea University UK, explores how a community arts program was designed with the hopes of involving more people in taking action against climate change in Wales (Evans 2014). She elaborates on theories of critical realism and how our actions are affected by the way we think. She introduces the theory of internal conversation and explains how people actively converse with themselves to define their values and actions. To demonstrate her point, she focuses on a particular community arts project organized by Awel Aman Tawe (AAT), a community wind farm project in Southern Wales. AAT, founded in 2000, is a renewable energy activist group that has faced both success and hostility from their community. Their aim in developing an arts program was to engage people on a deeper, personal level with climate change and initiate change-oriented intervention. The program features film, drama, poetry, and a project named “Postcards from the Future,” in which people submit original images of what a climate-changed world would look like. Competitions like their bilingual climate change poetry competition received over 700 received entries worldwide. The arts program was successful in providing the community with a platform to bring the community together and initiate change. Continue reading