In lecture last week we touched upon what it would take for people around the globe to finally take action towards improving environmental crises. Climate change and its impacts on regions across world is clearly the biggest issue that we are, and will continue to face, in the 21st century. The sad thing is that most people like to pretend that it isn’t happening or that it will never escalate to the point that it will directly impact our lives in any way. I felt like most of the class seemed to agree that it would take a major disaster in order for everyone to begin working together to actually tackle the issue and limit the disastrous impacts. While it is true that there ARE many organizations, efforts, scientists, and everyday citizens who are working together to try to bring awareness to these problems and what needs to be done, its not enough.
After researching the issue more on my own, the various statistics that I came across were more than concerning, especially in regards to the general American opinion on climate change. Not just Americans, but Europeans as well, tend to take an apathetic stance on the matter. The Pew Research Center reported that only 42% of Americans and Europeans would consider themselves “very concerned” about the climate change. In other areas of the world, where the impacts are much more noticeable, the percentage is higher. Africa and Latin America are the most concerned. The same survey shows that the number one concern for Americans and Europeans is the terrorist group ISIS, which is of course a more pressing concern for many Americans and Europeans today. Unless something more drastic happened due to climate change that directly impacted us, I don’t think that the percentage of Americans who are “very concerned” about it will rise.
This year CNN posted an interesting article that discussed why climate change isn’t as big of an issue here, and one of their main points was that it’s not talked about enough. This is evident from the lack of knowledge and misconceptions that many citizens have in regards to climate change (The second source from the CNN article includes a ten question survey to test your knowledge). 97% of scientists agree that climate change is a direct result of human activity, and it is astounding to me that there are people who do not care or choose to ignore it. The article also states that only 10 percent of Americans are even aware of this statistic. Other startling statistics include that many Americans are likely to believe in whatever their relatives or friends are saying, the U.S. has contributed the most to climate change, and three quarters of Americans claim to never talk about climate change. Hopefully our country can become better educated and come to terms with what is happening to our planet, and begin to understand that we don’t have to wait until something catastrophic happens.