If you’re reading this, hopefully you not only “believe” in climate change, but you also realize that it is both a serious threat, and is caused by human action. Believe is in quotes in that sentence because this isn’t a matter of faith, or a matter of agreeing to disagree. All the science points to global climate change being a very real thing that is caused by human actions, and which poses a significant threat to life on Earth.
Unfortunately, only about 33% of Americans believe that climate change poses a threat. The media is largely to blame for that absurdly low number, because most Americans don’t spend their free time keeping up with climate science, and instead get news about it from media sources like 24 hour news networks. And the mass media tends to characterize climate science as uncertain, with lots of differing opinions.
But there aren’t. Roughly 3% of all climate scientists disagree that human activity causes climate change, and it’s a safe bet that many of them have a vested interest in fossil fuels and other industries that are so largely responsible for those changes. Just like the conservatives who keep telling us that there is no climate change, or that it isn’t our fault, then turn around and take money from oil and coal companies.
And things aren’t much better among young people. Only 54% of teens believe that climate change is actually happening, 43% of them don’t think we’re to blame, and 57% of all teens don’t care about it. Teenagers tend to be caught up in their own lives, but a recent study of California textbooks points to another problem: four of the major textbooks used in California’s 6th grade classrooms frame climate change as a “debate,” and give equal time and credibility to both climate scientists and climate change deniers.
California is a huge market, with roughly 1/6th the population of the U.S. living there, which means these publishers are going to ship those books everywhere else, too. Do we want a whole generation thinking climate change isn’t real?