A Changing Climate and a Changing Public

This post, written by Southern Energy Network’s Communications Fellow Simone Domingue, first appeared on SEN’s blog. You can find the original post here.

climate change sandy comic“A Climate of Change” read one of the Saturday headlines of the Huffington Post last November. The article read that a recent Rasmussen poll concluded that 68% of Americans recognize climate change as a “serious problem”.  In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and after the climate silence controversy, I can’t help but get the sense there is a changing narrative about climate change in this country.  Unfortunately it isn’t necessarily an uplifting narrative. The bottom line is people are concerned, they are concerned for their future and that of their children’s. People are beginning to realize the threat that a changing climate means to their livelihood.

So this isn’t the most uplifting way for the climate events of our time to unfold…but maybe there are some things to be learned and applied to our ongoing fight for the climate.

There are a few things we shouldn’t forget in order to ensure a better a future for ourselves, our family, and our world. First, we have to stay informed and stay involved. There are far too many people who would have you believe that caring about issues and exercising your rights to participate in decision making is a futile effort.

The second part of our equation is to ask questions.  Members of the MSU student group, Students for a Sustainable Campus, did just this at a conference with Mississippi Representative Gregg Harper. A student asked what the Congressman would do to address climate change. The congressman’s politely stated reply captured very well the “I don’t think the science is in yet” attitude.  A standard reply that youth leaders know all too well, and signals to us that there are leaders who still bank on maintaining the status quo. These are elected leaders, but it is still our right and duty to question them on the issues that need to be brought into the limelight. You can see the video for yourself, here:

And finally, I think it is imperative to remember to see ourselves as listeners as well as communicators in a conversation about the future of our globe’s health. The polarizing sentiments toward climate change and energy that pin human welfare vs. nature’s welfare are a mere political device to draw lines in the sand.  The truth is we are ALL stakeholders in the climate crisis. We are ALL invested in the environment, despite that seeming like a separate entity to some people.  We can ALL bring something to the table in what should be a conversation about moving forward to ensure a healthy future for all.

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