Friday, July 22, 2016

Ground Rules: Starting a Climate Change Debate

Kenneth H. Laundra, Ph.D.

Conversations about climate change are too often reduced to ideological arguments, ending in fractured feelings and indignant stances that harden over time.  Just when we need to talk about solutions to the crisis, we find ourselves mired in the quicksand of rhetoric and political innuendo. Try talking to a climate change denier about climate change and soon you’ll be talking about “climate gate”, Benghazi or Obamacare, instead of talking about advances in clean energy technology that can save us from pending environmental calamity. For the deniers, climate change is simply a political issue, so you’ll fail to convince that person that it is real and imminent. Since it is merely a political issue, like with religion, the subject of climate change has become too sensitive for polite conversation, and even taboo in mixed social settings (like the 2008 Presidential election).
So here we are. At the precise moment in time when humanity should be sounding the alarm on climate change, and working to offset the effects with a myriad of technological and social solutions now available, we are instead choosing to ignore the reality of our situation on this planet, which is, according to the brightest brains using the rigor of scientific methodology, quite dire. Unfortunately, the political schism that has deepened in this country has also co-opted any rational discussion of climate change, resulting in ideological dismissals on both sides that stifle any meaningful conversation about it, typically reduced to emotional outbursts instead of understanding. So we watch the glaciers melt faster than our frosty opinions, because we too often hold our convictions closer to our hearts than we do the facts. So how do we overcome this rhetorical obstacle to climate change awareness? Given the current ideological divide, I think we need to first talk about how we are going to talk about it.

In order to have a meaningful conversation like this, you must first agree to use a common language. We talk with words, which represent specific ideas. So, if two people are using the same words, but those words have different meanings, then you are not talking with that person, you are just talking to that person. They don’t understand what you’re saying. Worse than that, they think they understand what you’re saying because the words you’ve used mean something else to that person. You are not standing on the same conceptual ground, and you misunderstand each other.
Establishing the ground rules – the rules by which your conversation will stand on – is imperative for having a meaningful conversation. This means agreeing on a common language and, in the context of climate change, it means agreement on what form(s) of knowledge are within range and, in turn, what forms of knowledge are out of range. In the case of climate change, the universal language we must all use is the language of science. It is simply the most rigorous and reliable source of knowledge on the matter, so we have to collectively agree to base our opinions on it, even if it rubs up against other beliefs or ideologies we may hold dear. And to be a good scientist, you must also be willing to change your mind. If you can’t entertain the possibility that an objective conversation on climate change might change your mind, then you shouldn’t bother in the first place, because the goal of this particular conversation is to find consensus on what to do, if anything, about climate change; and this is not merely an academic or philosophical debate, because we are ultimately debating future action which will rely on consensus-building, and this will ultimately require somebody to change their mind.

Unfortunately, as the so-called “national debate” over climate change ensues, it is largely driven by a politically-minded, profit-driven media that are more than happy to over-hype straw man positions on the subject, using purposely opaque and passing reference to the actual knowledge base, and panel discussion among experts of disrepute in formats that pass as real news. So no incentive even exists for consensus-building around the scientific evidence, or for changing minds. This is a troubling stalemate because, if we accept science as our common language in this debate, we are running out of time.

As an example, allow me to collapse a number of conversations I’ve had over this issue with colleagues, students, friends and family into a single, prototypical one. You may find this conversation familiar to you. It goes like this:

CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER: “I think global warming is real, but I’m not sure it’s entirely a man-made thing, and I’m not sure there’s even anything we can do about it. I mean, the science isn’t settled yet. There is honest disagreement among the experts. We should wait before we take any big action, until we know more about it.”
CLIMATE CHANGE BELIEVER: “Actually, there IS consensus among most of the scientists that climate change is real, that it is man-made, and that the problem is becoming increasingly perilous to life on this planet, in a way never before experienced by humankind.”
CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER: “Well, you don’t know that for sure. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.”

After somewhere between twenty seconds and two hours of back and forth, the parties agree to disagree. Stalemate.

Been there?

It’s as if we’re talking about a moral, philosophical or spiritual issue, like abortion, socialism, or god in government. But we are not talking about those things. We are talking about climate change, a subject that is inherently and necessarily grounded in the scientific method, which is the most trustworthy form of knowledge we have devised as a species and, in this case, the form of knowledge having the only true bearing on any conversation over climate change. Climate change is a scientific issue, not a moral or political issue, and this deserves to be emphasized.

Consider how bizarre it would be for me to approach my mom or brother, who have both owned and operated a steel construction company for decades, suggesting to them that the buildings they construct might be stronger if they used wood or plastic instead of steel. I would immediately be dismissed as ignorant (or insane) because, to be honest, I don’t know the first thing about steel construction companies or how to make strong buildings. But I did recently see an article online that described a new plastic polymer that is said to be stronger than steel, so I know that my opinion is based, in fact, in fact. In fact is it. Not knowing much else about steel construction, I am not swayed by their further criticism of my claim, involving something about architectural integrity, capital cost incursions, international market prices, and OSHA standards (this is, by the way, a total guess).
Now imagine if I renounce their informed skepticism about my idea by saying, “well, you don’t know that for sure. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.”

You can see how obviously wrong I would be. In fact, it would be weird and kinda creepy. This is because I am offering an uninformed opinion based in a way of knowing that is not relevant to the issue at hand. My assumption that my uninformed opinion based in limited knowledge about steel construction should carry the same weight as one who occupies the field and who has a more complete, comprehensive understanding of the forces at play in the construction business – that it should actually have equal merit – is a faulty one. To further cloud our opinionate debates, particularly one like climate change, we have to also understand that our brains are biased toward what we already believe, due to our neuro-psychological tendencies to absorb information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs and values, what cognitive psychologists call a confirmation bias (one of many biases that color our worldview).  As Michael Shermer puts it, “Belief comes first. Evidence for belief comes second.”

In this way, we believe our opinion is equally valid because I believe opinions that draw on evidence are as equally valid as those opinions from anyone else who makes an evidence-based claim. But evidence does not equal fact, and a fact is only as good as the manner by which it arrives. And this is how climate change conversations usually go astray. We conflate various forms of evidence as equally true. We assign equal value to any claim that references a “fact”, regardless of how that fact comes to us.

In our technopoly, this modern information age we live in, facts are cheap and they enter our consciousness from all directions in rapid-fire succession. Most of these facts come at us filtered through an institutional agenda, such as the facts surrounding a woman’s biological capacity to “ward off” rape sperm to avoid pregnancy, the facts surrounding violence and guns in America, or the facts surrounding job growth under President Obama. But some of these facts come at us from more rigorous scientific inquiry via the established ground rules for discovery based in the scientific method. This is a very different way of fact-finding and, although science itself can be filtered through an institutional agenda as well, the knowledge attained through this method is still, by far, the most precise and useful way to know something in order to solve a complex global problem like climate change. When it comes to understanding the real, physical world in which we actually live, it is this method that gave us the gift of an evolved awareness of our place in the universe (e.g. Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein) and beyond (e.g. quantum physics), and which now gives us the gift of our more Earthy awareness about climate change.

This is not to say that science is always right (my brother reminded me that scientists once thought the Earth was flat, and that some still do). But science is also a method by which we discovered we were wrong and, because it is a method for understanding something, it is the reason why we continue to find truth through the mist of myth and superstition that have fogged our past – like the myth we shouldn’t take action to reduce greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere because we still don’t know enough about it, or because god will take care of it somehow.

You can form your opinion on climate change by citing a filtered fact, or you can form it by citing the sources of fact, which in this case is the congruent evidence that comes to us via the scientific method employed in climatology, Earth science, geology, physics, anthropology, sociology, history and many other divergent studies – all of which derive conclusions grounded in the scientific procedure, and all of which agree that, as a matter of species survival, we better get on top of this thing.

To do this, we must not allow biased claims funded by the very multinational corporations who will suffer from any redirection of current energy policy, or by those with the loudest voices who simply scream through their media megaphones, to carry the same weight as hard science. This would be equivalent to giving a sociologist’s opinion on how to run a steel business the same weight as that of the owner of that steel business. This would be obviously absurd because the sociologist does not understand the language of the steel business, and vice versa. In a very real sense, they speak a different language, so it becomes impossible to find common ground for consensus.

So with climate change, we need to start speaking the same language, the language of science. Until we agree to talk in words we can all agree on, words that have the same meaning to everyone, how can we agree on anything? After all, when was the last time you changed your mind about something after listening to someone speak in a language you could not understand? So let me end with this:

я верю в науку

You believe it too, don’t you?


  1. Very interesting blog post. I thought the second to last paragraph really spoke to me the most because it was very relatable and it gave a nice summary of how people need to look at the issue. Also, I've never really paid too much attention to global warming in the past but after reading this article, I would like to look more into it through the eyes of scientists instead of the media.

  2. It was interesting to me to really compare global climate change to something like abortion or other social issues because I understand that those issues are closely related to opinions. It seems hard for me to understand people having any other opinion on global climate change with the overwhelming evidence that supports it. The fact that every decade since the 1960s has been warmer that the decade before should do a good enough job convincing anyone, and that is among the most basic of the scientific findings proving that this is a real problem. Seems hard to argue with all the unbiased science.

  3. The blog was interesting in many aspects. I think it is completely truthful that to talk about climate we need to talk in a language surrounding science. This provides the most facts which then can support someone's opinion. I also think comparing this issue to abortion and other social issues puts it into perspective that this IS a major issue that needs more focus. Then again we are people who like to use the "out of sight out of mind" mentality so unless we physically are seeing the change we won’t show much interest. Also I think far too many people, including myself, do not pay attention to issues such as climate change because we think it is "too big" for us to actually do something about it. I personally think our focuses need to be changed so that we see that major problems going on in society and not the garbage that has taken over perceptions of what should be important.

  4. I find this article to be enlightening for someone like myself who doesn't have much prior knowledge of climate change. I am similar to the person that would say things like, "I know that God will take care of the issue so we don't need to take action." Or maybe I would say, "We don't know enough about climate change yet, so we should not make any radical decisions." The fact is that we are running out of time and this is the most urgent issue that will lead to our demise if we continue to allow our opinions to get in the way of our call to action. I find this issue intriuging and I plan to dig deeper to learn more.

  5. I completely agree that the language of science needs to be the primary language when talking about climate change. Scientific methods are used in every day life to support or discredit hypothesis. To deny climate change with no scientific evidence to back up those claims is ignorant. There is currently a presidential candidate that doesn't believe climate change is real, I find that hard to agree with because just by using logic it's easy to infer that each of the last 5 years have got progressively hotter (on average). These next 10 years will be crucial to see the direction that this movement takes and will ultimately control the fate of or species and every other species on the planet.

    -Brandon Provost

  6. There are certain debatable topics where science needs to be the language of discussion. In modern society as you stated there is so much misinformation that is filled with language that many people don't understand yet they continue to believe it. With a plethora of information accessible in seconds you would think that more people would actually look into facts and ideas instead of just believing the first things they see. Certain topics that are rooted in science such as climate change need to be talked about and supported with the actual scientific facts. I have talked to a number of people who do not believe in climate change. When I give them actual scientific facts about how the global climate is changing they still continue to not believe in them. I hope that eventually more people begin to read into the science behind things and learn to recognize true facts from the red herrrings media spreads. Maybe once the real science is accepted by everyone as fact a real change can be made to start trying to stop or slow the negative effects we have started.

  7. This article spoke to me on several personal levels. First, I am a believer in God but I do not believe that God will do everything for us. I believe some of it is on us too and if we take the necessary action plan moving forward I believe that God will take care of the rest. With that said, I appreciated how the article referenced the politically correct world we live in. If we do not first get in front of this issue and begin seriously making efforts worldwide to get this under control then I do fear for the next generation. Secondly, the article highlighted the point that the facts are never going to be enough for those who are not convinced, which means conversation has to be put on the national forefront in order to bring the necessary awareness to our world.

  8. I agree with you that we need to speak he language, the language of science. In doing this it make it part of people's lifestyles. I feel to really make people aware of climate change is to show the public the things, like oil company's hiding the things they do from the public. I feel that this is why people think climate change is just a political issue. If those kind of people seen the real things happening then I strongly believe it would change them.
    By: Blake Tisza

  9. (Additonal section that could not fit the character limit):

    The mere fact that such systems have not been fully integrated as a solution to this very crisis that we know we have collectively brought upon our planet appalls me, for it defies logical reasoning to continue using an unsustainable, outdated system for which a more suitable alternative has already been developed and simply needs to be implemented, but it would require our people as a whole to answer the plea to put the life of our planet over the convenience of our modern technological lifestyle, which is far easier said than done.

  10. The article is very eye-opening for those who do not usually invest their time in real life social issues. The mass majority of the article is informing us of our global warming issue. Many people are unaware of the issue and refuse to talk about it. The articles has great ideas of how to begin talking about climate change. For instance, "in the case of climate change, the universal language we must all use is the language of science." Science is used all around the world in testing experiments and theories. There is two types of people when it comes to global warming. Climate Change Denier is either one who believes global warming but doesn't think it was entirely man-made and they have no hope in changing it. Climate Change Believer is one who believes climate change is caused by human kind and they believe the problems is increasing to an environment calamity that humankind has never before seen. Those who deny climate change believe it is just another political subject. When it comes to global warming to me, I am a firm believer. I told you one class a little bit about how I feel. I consider myself a spiritual person and I have been feeling the corruptness of our system and our dying planet. People are not born to pay bills and die. As humans we evolve from experience. We need to take this as a national level problem and work together to figure out a solution. According to the article, People “are instead choosing to ignore the reality of our situation on this planet.” And because most of the climate change is related to political problems people tend to ignore the issue.

  11. This article not only looks at the growing problem, but also the things that feed into it. Climate change is problem that has been growing in today's society and has yet stop. The author does what I think is a good job generalizing the "climate change believer" and "non-believer", they are usually have different views on a lot of things. Ken writes, "For the deniers, climate change is simply a political issue, so you’ll fail to convince that person that it is real and imminent". I think this does a great job pointing out a problem that makes us lose focus on the main problem. I do think looking at and finding the flaws in one's argument is something that is necessary, but i do not think that gives one the right to ignore the problem. That's something that's being done with climate change in general here in the US, we just refuse to look at the facts. The media plays a big role in our everyday lives, now more than ever due to technology and social media. They don't really focus on the problem at hand, and fails to educate on findings and how to help like they should. Ken expresses his views on this stating, "the so-called “national debate” over climate change ensues, it is largely driven by a politically-minded, profit-driven media that are more than happy to over-hype straw man positions on the subject". I liked this quote because it made me think back to when I was informed the most about this climate change issue, and that was back in elementary school. I also liked how he put an emphasis on how and where people should obtain their facts, and if they should believe them. It's Important to know if the information you’re getting is from a reliable source. The validity of your info is important but the way you use it is important as well, he points that as well. This article does a great job of looking at climate change from different point of views, as well as how and why people feel the way they do about it.

  12. The author brings attention to many significant issues dealing with our climate and how it is changing. Another important piece that stood out to me in this blog was that as human, what we do has a great impact on our climate, can be incredibly harmful to our climate as well as our planet too. Based off of class lecture and being semi-aware of the situation going on with our climate, It’s safe to say that engaging in a conversation that would address climate change, unlike climate change deniers, I’d be very active. I would contribute greatly to a conversation instead of running from the idea that we are the ones causing a problem and or it just being a political issue as was said early on in the “Ground Rules: Starting a Climate Change Debate” blog. I agree with the idea that climate change is real as well as how it was grounded within the scientific method, which just happens to be the “most trustworthy form of knowledge” our species has created. One thing that seemed a bit bizarre to me was how there were some instances when 2 completely different topics were being compared with global warning and abortion. For people who aren’t as aware of the global warming situation as other, I would agree that the scientific method should be the primary language when discussing this a manner such as this in order to provide insight on what’s really going on with the climate. To clear up any confusion about climate change, people have to be willing to change their views and look at it from a more sophisticated viewpoint. Then, we could potentially start to go in the direction of making a change in our climate for the better.

  13. I like how this article was put together on conversation and emphasizes a way to move forward on the debate of climate change. It is hard to accept and arguing side to your own beliefs but what if we did try and at least listen. There is science to these environmental changes there is no way it is made up. I think it is valid to at least accept that science is a good source and does have some truth. We need to stop battling with opinions and use some concrete evidence. The more we educate ourselves the better we can solve issues on any topic. I think humans feel the fingers are being pointed at them (because they are) and feel as if this world was made for them so how could they be affecting it so negatively? We have to take a step back and realize that we coexist with the environment and look at the situation from that perspective. This topic is tough because no matter what there are people who find it easier to deny global problems because of higher priorities in their life. I think this article does tackle a major issue though saying we need to find common ground before we can keep butting heads because no side is getting anywhere.

  14. Climate change has been an issue for a long time and continues to be one today. When the time to speak about causes and solutions, a problem occurs. People began to focus less on “technological advances but more on unhelpful topics like Obamacare and the “climategate”.Deniers usually are usually the cause of this because they believe climate change is a political issue . The reality of climate change is ignored when deniers have this belief. They don’t believe the science of climate change. Ground rules need to be set before having a conversation on climate changes and solutions. This will make the conversation more meaningful and productive.
    I agree with this blog for many reasons. First, even though science is not always right, but when it comes to climate change, science is right and they always have solutions to fix the problem. If everyone would do what they said, the solution can began to reduce the climate change. I do not think the deniers would do what the scientist say because they do not believe them. I also believe that many people do not think climate change is as big of an issue as it really is. Scientist know from statistics how serious it is. They have a lot of evidence, numbers and what's actually happening around the world visually. For example, in a class lecture it was said that in Arizona by our lifetime water will be scarce.

  15. this article is a real eye opener and takes a deeper look at the effects of climate change in our environment. most may not notice the changes that are occurring because it doesn't seem like its currently effect us when, yet it is. just as the article stated people talk about climate change in ideas instead of facts. major factory companies produce a lot of harmful chemicals into society. the problem with this is Americans have become so reliant on these companies that its hard to reverse this process. not only that but recently through social media companies claim to start to use behind resources to create products and reduce gases in the air, but how true or effective is that? as whole we need to start to reserve our natural gases and recycle items for reuse. We also need to cut back on water usage, work on reserving food supply, and transportation fumes. these few little steps for each person can be beneficial not only to ourselves but to the environment.

  16. This is a very interesting read and one that made me really think about my stance on climate change. I agree that we have to talk in a language we both understand and that it is not based on politics, religion or otherwise. Those that are "deniers" are those that either do not care or choose to not care, in my opinion. I believe God created this world and I also believe that it is our duty to take care of it. I am a believer in environmental justice. Again, it is my duty. I have a real real problem with all of these corporations putting harmful emissions in our air with their only concern to make more money. I,furthermore, am happy to see that the pipeline through the North Dakota was denied. Why should more harmful pollutants be pure into the water all in the desire of the corporation to make more money. Ad I've said many times I would rather believe there is a God and find out there isn't than to believe there isn't a God and find out there is. I feel the same way about climate change. I want to make difference in this world I live in and I want to take care of my Mother Nature.

  17. Until now i never really considered the issue we have in our world with climate change. Even in lecture when you discussed that we have a major problem and if the Earth heats one more degree we will have insane crazy weather patterns happening i was so shocked and it made me wonder why we as humans living on the earth have let it go this far. With all the new advancements in our world we should find a better way to lower the use of carbon and control the green house gases. The article says, " So no incentive even exists for consensus-building around the scientific evidence, or for changing minds. This is a troubling stalemate because, if we accept science as our common language in this debate, we are running out of time." this is important because it literally says that we are running out of time and people are not excepting climate change for what it truly is. also in the article they explain how media changes how people view climate change and how there is alot of political controversy over it. people need to wake up and read and learn the facts because our world is getting worse and worse and eventually we will have passed the point of not return, whereas, right now, we can reverse this by using 80% less of certain resources.

    -Alexas B

  18. Summary:
    This article not only addresses that climate change has become a very sensitive topic among our communities but when it is brought up people tend to talk about politics rather than the actual issues of climate change. By doing this people are ignoring the fact that we need to address climate change and as a species work to improve our ways before we run out of resources and destroy our planet. In order to talk about this however, people have to learn “how to talk with one another not to one another.” People have to come to the realization that climate change isn’t something that is debatable it is a proven scientific fact. Science is the “most precise and useful way to know something in order to solve a complex global problem like climate change.” Of course science is not always right because it is a method but it is “why we continue to find truth.”
    Opinion of Essay:
    In my opinion this article was very informative and brought things to my attention that I had never thought about before such as finding a common language to talk about things like this. Not only is it important for everyone in the U.S. but people all over the world. If we learn to communicate about things that impact each and every one of us it would be much easier to address these issues and come up with solutions. I found this article to be very well written and it has addressed many critical points of climate change and the issues we face addressing it. People all over the world have their own idea of what climate change is but at the end of the day only science can really tell us what is happening to our planet. I believe the common ground theory we talked about in class could have helped to easily explain how our earth is being deteriorated by each and every one of us. Most people think “why should I recycle I’m one person it won’t make a difference” but at the end of the day it does make a difference. If we all take care of what we are given our planets natural resources would not be nearly diminished already. The theory is right when it basically explains that the more you use up the worse off you are, people need to be taught the “less is more” aspect of life or they will end up with nothing.

  19. I found this article to be very eye-opening. This article talks about the issue our society has pushed off to the side, climate change. In society today, people have a difficult time talking about this issue because it always turns into a political conversation rather than the real problem at hand. The author does a great job at explaining the difference between the climate believer and non-believer. The author states, “For the deniers, climate change is simply a political issue, so you’ll fail to convince that person that it is real and imminent.” This article explains how we can go about having a meaningful conversation on climate. The authors says that having a common language is key and the universal language of climate change is science. Science is a reliable source of knowledge and is based on facts. I think this article does a great job talking about the first step in moving forward with this problem we are facing. We need to start focusing on the facts of science and not pushing this issue to the side. If everyone were well educated on global warming and determined to change their habits, then I believe that could be a start.

  20. This article was interesting for me to read. You made some really good points about how we need to change and how our world is going to change really quickly in a negative way if something isn't done to fix it. I also agree that to have conversations about this pressing topic, that we need to all be able to speak the same language. And, many times when i have conversations with people about climate change or global warming, they get totally sidetracked and have no idea what they are talking about.
    After reading this, I need to give my opinion.I felt like this article was pushing a certain way of thinking onto me; trying to change my mind. maybe my mind does need to be changed, but I will continue to do research and form my own ideas.
    I don't think global warming and climate change is as big of a problem as we think.
    Let's think about the volcanic eruption of Tambora, for example. This is the largest recorded eruption. When it erupted, it produced more Carbon Dioxide and we are producing with our cars right now. The volcano didn't have that big of an effect on the Earth's atmosphere.
    The "Hockey Stick Graph" also makes me question this whole idea. There are statisticians who have proved that the data is wrong, but we are still sticking with it, why?
    I am totally not saying that global warming should be ignored, because it shouldn't. I would love to see an alternative form of energy being used for our country to "go green." But I just don't think that everyone needs to be as freaked out as they are right now. Our world is alright.

  21. Climate change has been a heated topic in the most recent years, especially with the elections that just took place. I like that this blog talks about using common communication in order to establish a baseline. I agree with the statement that climate change is not a political or moral issue, but in fact a scientific issue. This topic has been widely accepted in the eyes of most scientists, so why is it taking the public and politicians so long to also accept this. Politicians have outside benefits to ignore the imminent truth about climate change to justify their needs to continue deforestation and oil supplies. It is sad to think that our entire species may suffer from something so catastrophic that was easily preventable. There were many good points made in this blog that has opened my eyes even further the the ongoing truth about our very limited resources!

  22. I enjoy the issue that this article tackles. It is extremely mind-blowing to me that anybody could deny climate. This has been a huge issue as of recent times, especially with the latest election results. I especially like the reference to the family construction business, where the example is made of referring the use of wood in place of steel, only to be called ignorant. I feel that this example describes the climate change controversy to a tee. One side has believed for so long that climate change not real, then when someone comes along and suggests that it may be something that our culture needs to be aware of and reconsider, they are viewed as ignorant or incorrect.

  23. I think that this is something that the public doesn't address as often as it should because it would lead to actual work being done. The courtesy of establishing a way of speaking about something is very lost in our country as people have increasingly began to equivocate the right to free speech to the right to say whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want. Though they are not wrong, they don't realize that doing so makes you loose the attention of those that don't agree with you, those who need to hear it the most. Beginning a discussion with respect for all parties included will help to bring more knowledge to all. We have become a nation of people who's platforms are formed to affirm ideas of those who already subscribe to our message. Climate change as a topic is hard for most Americans because it is already hard for us to admit fault. We the people do not like to admit when we are wrong. I like that the article addresses issues surrounding climate change like the lack of ability to communicate,rather than focusing on the climate change issue as a whole. It is important to realize that our message is not being heard because we aren't listening either. We aren't listening to the ways that they understand things, we aren't listening to the ways that they communicate. I think that the urgency we feel in this subject as supporters of climate change also affects the ways we communicate. We are so panicked (rightfully so) that we forget to listen to those we are talking to and present things from their point of view as well. The people that we are arguing with see things differently, and it is also important to know which articles and which facts to present to those people in order for them to understand it. There are many scientists that come form different backgrounds that will reach different people easier. Even if their qualifications are the same, the reality of people is they learn from who they want to learn from and if you use someone they might trust more than they would other people they might listen better. I think that using the steel industry as a comparison for stressing the need to trust those who are informed on a subject was very smart of you because it is something that hits close to home for many deniers. The steel industry is a factory job and many people who don't trust climate change as fact, are lower to "middle" class workers with some conceptualization of knowledge on subjects similar to, or at the factory. That is if you don't count billionaires who benefit from nonrenewable resources who believe that climate change is a Chinese hoax designed to ruin he and his friends money train.

  24. To start of, I would like to say that this article was very interesting to read. I agree one hundred percent that climate change is a real issue and that us, the human beings are the ones who can fix it or make it worse. Each individual has its own beliefs and I sometimes it is hard to change someone's mind. I must also say that I agree with the fact that in order to understand climate, science needs to be understood too. This is very easy to see but like the article mentions:"Belief comes first. Evidence for belief comes second”. I would also like to mention that climate change is an issue that has been going on for years yet no one really does anything about it. Science has proved that if we do not do anything about it, it is going to get worse, the cities next to the coast such as Venice, New York and such will eventually be buried under water. Another thing that drew my attention is when it was said that when talking about climate change, we find ourselves talking about politics. I believe that something else needs to be done, the people who have been chosen to "take care" of our country should come up with a solution. Recycling is not enough, more needs to be done. Maybe only cars with a licence plate ending in on an odd number should be allowed to be drive every other day and then the cars ending on an even number would be driven when the others are not allowed to be driven. This is such an idea that I, a normal citizen has thought of. So if I can come up with ideas to fix climate change, so can the people who are supposed to be taking care of this country by making rules.

  25. The article "Ground Rules:Starting a Climate Change Debate", by Kenneth Laundra, does a good job at opening the reader's mind about how to view the problems being faced today in regards to climate change. Laundra mentions early in the article how the situation is seen: "For the deniers, climate change is simply a political issue". In my opinion, this is one of the major reasons this problem hasn't been solved. Most of the responsibility to resolve the problem is placed on the government and it shouldn't be that way. Climate change should be a problem that everyone tries to address because we are all affected by it. In addition, if we all push for resolution then the government will be forced to do something about the problem. Secondly, Laundra mentions that one big problem is that we don't all agree that climate change is a immediate problem: "In the case of climate change, the universal language we must all use is the language of science". This statement is shortly followed by another important statement:"And to be a good scientist, you must also be willing to change your mind". This state speaks an important point because it puts light on the most important aspect of this situation. People are set in their beliefs and are unlikely to change. In other words, people who don't believe climate change is a problem will probably remain that way. To lament on this topic, many political leaders are part of an older generation and don't follow the "scientific method". They are set in an old way of thinking. Climate change is a problem of the millennial generation and I don't think a movement will occur against climate change until millennials gain more power. Lastly, it is agreed among many scientist that climate change is increasingly becoming a serious problem. I believe that it is up to , not just the government, but everyone to make changes to everyday life in order to create a safe environment and preserve the Earth for future generations.

  26. I can definitely agree with you on where you wrote about how climate change deniers will simply make it about Obamacare or anything related to the problems that "Obama has caused". I have had multiple conversations and have seen multiple documentaries on Netflix, such as "Jesus Camp", where they talk about how it is impossible to have climate change and how a few degrees higher will have no effect on the planet due to its size. Your blog is overall very interesting. The part where you wrote "if two people are using the same words, but those words have different meanings, then you are not talking with that person, you are just talking to that person". It reminds me of the quote: "we often find ourselves talking to be heard, not understood". Many conversations can turn out productive if we truly did all speak in the same language, which in this case, it is the language of science (due to its reliability). Everything about this is relatable and I enjoy your use of words.

    -Adilene Ramirez