While most Americans think climate change is an important issue, they don’t see it as an immediate threat (even though it’s affecting people’s lives RIGHT NOW in many places) so getting people to “go green” requires policymakers, scientists and marketers to look at our psychological barriers to change. What will lead people to take the action that is needed?

A national Pew Research Center poll shows that 75-80% of respondents think climate change is an important issue. But respondents ranked it last in a list of 20 compelling issues, such as the economy or terrorism. Despite warnings from scientists and environmental experts that limiting the effects of climate change means humans need to make some severe changes now, people don’t feel a sense of urgency.

Scientific evidence shows the main things causing climate change are behavioral, such as population growth and energy consumption, and many people are reluctant to change their lives to the extent necessary. Psychologist Janet Swim says, “What is unique about current global climate change is the role of human behavior. We must look at the reasons people are not acting in order to understand how to get people to act.”

Some of the psychological barriers that have been identified include uncertainty that changing our behavior will result in climate change. Another is mistrust and along with this, denial. Most people don’t believe the risk messages of scientists or government officials and a substantial minority of people believe climate change is not occurring or that human activity has little or nothing to do with it.Years of hearing lies to about things such as the need to invade Iraq have made the public cynical about all official statements. Let’s hope we learn to separate the truth from the lies before it’s too late!

Here at unknowncountry, we believe that people can change, and if we’re going to stave off global warming, we need to follow the right path. Just don’t forget where you heard about climate change FIRST, while everyone else was still denying it. Help us keep the truth alive: Subscribe today!

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