Citizenship for a changing global climate: Learning from New Zealand and Norway

by Jake Kessler

Two professors at the University of Canterbury teamed up with a professor from the University of Oslo to investigate young persons’ attitudes towards citizenship in Norway and New Zealand. At first glance the two countries are remarkably similar. New Zealand and Norway both have approximately 4.5 million citizens, are developed, are quite “egalitarian,” and are internationally known for their having stable political environments. However, the forms of democracy that have developed in the countries are quite different. New Zealand has embraced a market liberal form of democracy that has resulted in mass privatization of various industries. Norway embraces socialist ideals, and has a strong public sector and a long history of public-private cooperation. The authors looked at the students in both countries to understand how young adults from these affluent countries view their citizenship, and responsibility towards the global community as our climate changes radically. Continue reading

Religion to the Rescue (?) in an Age of Climate Disruption

by Jake Kessler

Bron Taylor, a professor at the University of Florida, became deeply concerned about anthropogenic climate change after reading The end of Nature in 1989. Throughout the 1980s he observed the connection between religion and social movements in Latin America, and perceived a similar relationship between some environmental movements and religious individuals.

Taylor believed, and continues to believe, that religion was connected to climate change because of its human-centric ideas. His paper, Religion to the Rescue (?) in an Age of Climate Disruption, looks at the opinions of religious individuals to understand if religion can be used to increase climate change awareness. Continue reading

Political ideology and views about climate change in the European Union

by Jake Kessler

The United States is divided over the existence of climate change. The conservative right-wing party in the U.S., the Republican party, is widely known for its anti-climate change beliefs. The Democratic Party, our left-wing liberal party, strongly believes in climate change and the need to tackle it. Does this type of relationship between political ideology and opinion on climate change exist elsewhere? Aaron et al (2016) looked at similar populations in Canada, Australia, and the European Union, and found similar divides in those countries between the left, and right wing- coalitions. They argue that the issue has been become politicized in much of the developed world. However, the United States remains an outlier due to the intensity of the divide. The authors attributed this to the greater degree of politicization in general versus other developed countries. Continue reading