The new IPCC report isn’t vague, and it doesn’t say that changes need to be made “some day.” It calls for change to be made right now, and it has some pretty dire warnings about the future. So why aren’t people just losing their minds over this scary new info? Let’s examine the reasons.
It feels far away. There are 330 million people in the U.S., and less than half of them live anywhere near a coastline. A Gallup poll conducted earlier this year showed that less than half of all Americans believe global warming poses a serious threat in their own lifetime, reports The Verge. Global warming is happening to islands, coastal cities — far-away places. Most people don’t realize the far-reaching effects of climate change.
Most people don’t realize that we caused it. An even more recent poll shows that most people aren’t aware of the strong scientific consensus that global warming is man-made, as reported previously by Inquisitr. If humans aren’t at fault for climate change, then humans can’t fix it — and that’s sound logic. This sentiment would make sense if that were true.
Politics play a part. Oil companies have spent millions of dollars in advertising and lobbying efforts to promote junk science and opinions that conflict with those of climate change scientists. Oil is terrible for the environment and the writing is on the wall. So oil companies changed the wall. Now, climate change is a political issue — and a matter of opinion — rather than settled science.
We’re numb to it. When Al Gore made waves with An Inconvenient Truth, climate change wasn’t some new idea. Global warming was already an old concept 20 years ago, and it gets written about and talked about all the time. Climate change becomes a little less scary when climate change news is everywhere, and it’s always the same: it’s something that’s going to happen tomorrow, not today.
Too many irons in the fire. Climate change is arguably the most important issue facing every single person on the Earth, but most people don’t know it because there are other issues that get more notice. Health care, gun control policies, and protecting the environment are all polling higher than climate change in a recent study, according to Politico. Global warming is registering on the radar, but it’s still falling behind many other issues. Only about two percent of all American voters think global warming is the most important issue in politics.
But summer is coming. Like the “War of the Five Kings” in Game of Thrones, every other issue means nothing — and will mean nothing — when the world begins to starve to death and the oceans begin to rise up. It’s not something that’s going to happen three or four generations from now. It’s something that has to be addressed right now. And everyone who isn’t freaking out about climate change needs to start going crazy about it right now.