Photo Credit: google images
In an election year, the forefront of issues that the average American wants solved are exposed. As an aspiring broadcast journalist, words and phrases like “the economy”, “job market”, “taxes” and “the war on terror” are thrown around on a daily basis. Story after story comes out, updating the American public on the most recent state of these issues. From the Presidential remarks, to the debates in Congress, to the personal affects that these issues have on private citizens, citizens are informed daily about these issues.
However, the sad reality of these headlines is the fact that rarely does one see a byline reflecting the current issue of climate change. As Huffington Post writer/blogger Judith Samuelson stated most recently [Climate Change] is “A human problem of dire consequences–and virtually no one talking about it.”
Is it the politicians faults? Or is it a simple reflection of the fact that climate change is simple not on the forefront of people’s minds. According to the Yale Project on Climate Change, the data they found would support this claim as Climate Change would rank a lowly 10th out of 11 possible political issues one would elect their next president off of.
With this in mind, my Planet Forward Partner and I set out to the streets of Washington DC to asses the validity of their findings.
Asking people on the streets what they thought the most important issue is in determining who the next President is, 6 out of 6 interviewees answered with “the economy”, “jobs” and “the break down of the American Family” thus not only reconfirming the study but putting a perfect statistic behind their finding.
Moving on we asked each volunteer if they knew or acknowledged what climate change was. As each of them acknowleged Climate Change in one form or another they ALL concluded as 67% of Americans did, that America must do something about the issue.
This is where the real problem lies. While acknowledging that climate change is not on the forefront of issues for the American public, most see it as a legitimate problem in the future. This exposes as the American public seems to be suffering of the tragedy of the commons.
So many set out to solve this issue, but how? What is going to inspire and serve the public as a call to action?
Rolling Stone Magazine writer Bill Mckibben sought to persuade by quantifying the serious issue:
“June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.”
327 months–that is roughly 9,810 days of over average temperature
1,401 weeks of temperatures over average
that is 26.94 YEARS of temperatures over average.
In this way McKibben seems to suggest that showing the effects of global warming in a quantifiable way is going to inspire the average american to take action? Does it make you reconsider?
The fact of the matter is that there are a multitude of ways in which we can combat these issues. Ways to inspire and educate, to inform and move forward. Whether it is taking charge of your own carbon footprint, to writing letters to your local congressman, to simply talking about it and creating conversation; we must start somewhere.
So the last question remains, how are we going to legitimize the issue of Climate Change to the American public?
The conversation starts here.
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