Framing and the Production of Environmentally Conscious Citizens

by Margaret Loncki

One of the most obvious solutions to prevent further climate change is energy usage reductions, but with the increased magnitude of global energy consumption, these seem unlikely anytime soon. Spence et al. (2014) explore whether energy savings is most beneficial when presented in terms of financial cost, CO2, or kilowatt-hours. In the United Kingdom, smart meters are used to measure the energy consumption of private residences. Although the government is pushing to have smart meters be standard in every home, only half of the population know what they are, and of those who do, only a quarter understand their purpose. Framing energy consumption in terms of cost is a very easy concept for consumers to understand but due to varying energy costs, the benefits of energy reduction are not often clear. Presenting energy consumption in terms of CO2 release is not as easily understood as financial cost, but is thought to reduce the “psychological distance” of climate change. Spence et al. also found that environmental framing encourage behavioral spillover, the idea that changing one behavior for environmental reasons often leads to picking up other environmental behaviors as a result. Continue reading

The Importance of Fisheries Management in Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change on Global Fisheries

by Margaret Loncki

Fishery management plays an important role in maintaining sustainable fisheries around the world. The more effective and flexible management styles are, the better they will be able to adapt to changing fisheries as a result of climate change. The most common fishery management styles discussed by Melnychuk, Banobi, and Hilborn (2013) are harvest control and flexible season opening and closing dates. Continue reading

Increasing vulnerability of Island Communities as a result of Climate Change

by Margaret Loncki

With the current trajectory of global Climate change, Island communities will be the first to be noticeably affected. Heather Lazrus describes the vulnerabilities of island communities as well as their ability to adapt to environmental changes brought about by climate change. Along with altered precipitation and storm patterns, and rising global temperatures, island communities face land loss due to the rise of sea levels and may soon face forced migration as a result. Lazrus also explains that many societies have portrayed small island communities as helpless victims of large developed nations’ irresponsibility and the climate changes that this irresponsibility has brought about. Lazrus makes the point that small island communities are not beyond saving and if climate change is correctly handled, migration will become unnecessary. Continue reading

Yale Attempts to Produce Environmentally Conscience Graduates

by Margaret Loncki

Administrators at Yale University strongly believe that something needs to be done about imminent threats it faces as a result of climate change. Rachelle Dejong, a research associate at the National Organization of scholars, describes the importance of behavioral manipulation and social psychology in changing the behavior of college students. Yale administrators believe that appealing to one’s moral side is not enough to change student’s behavior in the long run. Instead, students must want to engage in sustainable behavior rather than being forced into it. When forced to make these changes, resulting behavior appears to be temporary rather than the long lasting changes that Yale hopes to produce. Continue reading

Climate Change and its Effect on Alaskan Inuit Populations

by Margaret Loncki

Ford et al. (2008) explore the vulnerability of two populations of Alaskan Inuits to climate change. The authors begin by explaining the cultural importance of the “procurement, sharing, and consumption” of traditional food. Global climate change plays a very important role in these Alaskan Inuit’s ability to efficiently and successfully harvests viable food sources. As a result, Climate change has the potential to bring about social, cultural, and economic change. Continue reading