Veganism and Climate Change

by Riley Hoffman

Many scientists studying climate change are wondering why data they are presenting isn’t causing everyone to jump up to help combat the problem. Robyn Gray attempts to answer this question in her article “The Effectiveness of Advocacy and Advertising: A Comparison Between Veganism and Climate Change” (2015). Why, she asks during this essay, are people much more willing to boycott SeaWorld and keeping animals in captivity after seeing the movie Blackfish than they are to convert to veganism? Her answer is that becoming a vegan requires an extreme change in one’s lifestyle. She also argues the dramatic effect that emotions can have on an individual’s actions. When dramatic life changes are needed, most people are likely to ignore the supporting data and refuse to change. Thus, even though the data shows that the livestock industry produces about 18% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, only 1% of the population is vegan. On the other hand, 4% of the population is vegetarian, which helps to reduce the effect that the livestock industry has, although doesn’t completely eliminate their impact. Obviously, if we lived in a perfect world, everyone would immediately change to veganism to help the environment. This statistic helps to show that change isn’t going to come easily; it will take a different kind of effort than what is being put in now.

Just as converting to veganism requires an extreme life change, so do some of the possible solutions being presented to combat climate change. This explanation of why there is only a small number of people willing to alter their life for the good of the globe seems accurate.

Later on in her essay, Gray presents a solution to this dilemma. Instead of continuing to spew out information and statistics, scientists should try to pull at the heartstrings of their audiences. She argues that making a movie appealing to emotion, like Blackfish, will have a greater impact than force-feeding people scientific data. For example, Gray found that after researching some people chose to convert to veganism after seeing an animal being slaughtered.

Gray, R., 2015. Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management, 11. The Effectiveness of Advocacy and Advertisement: A Comparison between Veganism and Climate Change. DOI: 10.5931/djim.v11.1.5514

Effective Communication about Global Climate Change

by Riley Hoffman

In the most recent rendition of their article “Communicating climate change: conduits, content, and consensus”, Pearce, Brown, Nerlich, and Koteyko discuss the importance of the way that people like scientists and policy makers are portraying global climate change. In order to be most effective, they must understand how the general population is receiving their information, how they are likely to react based on what is being said, and how likely it is that they will believe it. Continue reading

Combating Climate Change with Religion

by Riley Hoffman

In her article “Can Science and Religion Respond to Climate Change?” (2015), Mary E. Tucker acknowledges the flaws of science and religion but suggests many ways that if the two were able to unite, the world could know how better to respond to global climate change. Her article explains that in order for true change to occur, the public needs the scientific base knowledge and an incentive, or an ethical reason, to pursue these changes.

Tucker proposes twelve ways for policy makers to induce change if science and religion came together. The first two ways describe how we need to change our perspective on global climate change. It cannot be treated as a side effect of economic growth; climate change would not be inevitable within if developed countries succeeded in reversing the effects that their emissions caused. Along those lines, she also suggests that Earth shouldn’t be seen as a tool for us, but instead as something that needs to be preserved and used sparingly to ensure long-term fitness. Continue reading

Political Views and Climate Change Views

by Riley Hoffman

It is obvious in the United States that the political divide is so intense, that one could fit an ocean between the Democratic and Republican parties when it comes to opinions on global climate change, but is it the same in other countries? The authors (McCright etd.2015) of “Political ideology and views about climate change in the European Union” try to find out. In a study with 25 countries (14 Western European countries, 11 former Communist countries), they used a survey to test whether or not the trends. Their hypothesis? That just as in the US, citizens who associate with the conservative parties will show less belief in global climate change in comparison to their liberal counterparts. They were also curious to compare their data to the former Communist countries’ citizens. Surprisingly, their hypothesis was accurate as, for the most part, right-leaning people showed higher amounts of denial and considered it much less serious than the liberals. They found very little divide on the topic in the former Communist countries. Continue reading