When I was reading Katherine Hayhoe's book Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, I was struck by her chapter on the "Six Americas of Global Warming." This comes from the Yale Program of Climate Change Communication. Rather than Americans being merely binary as climate believers or climate deniers, there are really six different vantage points. They are pictured here:
- Alarmed--Climate change believers who feel it is here now as an urgent, human--created threat and are taking action as they can.
- Concerned--People see it as a serious threat, but not immediate, therefor they give it less priority.
- Cautious--Folks who are on the fence and haven't made up their mind about if it is happening, human-created, or a serious concern.
- Disengaged--People who don't care, know little (if anything) about it, and are not interested in learning about it.
- Doubtful--They do not consider it serious or even happening, or they may feel it is all part of t he natural planetary cycle.
- Dismissive--People who do not believe climate change is "a thing," and they see it as a hoax or a conspiracy theory.
I found comfort in this, seeing it as far more promising than I had imagined by news stories of climate deniers. I also see it as encompassing the vantage points in perceived science deniers or even Covid deniers. The principles apply in both of those sets of views too. It's comforting because there are only 8% of the population that is so dogmatic with this issue, viewing climate change in the "hoax" department--meaning, that there's potential to reach the other 92%!
Additionally, it shows a radical shift to the collective concern about climate change. That is what it takes to shift the balance in conversations, legislation, and activism!!
To learn more, check out Yale's "Global Warming's Six America's" video.