Smoking, Marriage and Climate: What Can I Do? (2)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 5:03 PM GMT on April 03, 2013

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Smoking, Marriage and Climate: What Can I Do? (2)

This week I have a guest blogger, Doug Glancy, who was one of the student advocates responsible for starting my class on climate change problem solving. Doug’s piece continues the series in response to the question, “What can I do about climate change?” It is a call for social organization.

What Smoking and Marriage Equality Can Teach Activists About Efforts to Catalyze Climate Action

In February, Duke University released a poll that found that more than 84% of Americans believe climate change is occurring. Climate activists were elated, and many began to say that we’ve turned the corner on efforts to catalyze action. However, beneath the encouraging headline was a far more important number: only one third of Americans support federal efforts to address the issue. I am not discounting the fact that the vast majority of Americans now believe climate change is occurring. However, overselling this statistic is fraught with peril, as it is the second number that defines our direction when the rubber hits the road.

For affirmation of this belief, one need only look at the decades-long struggle to reduce smoking. As early as the 1950’s, the majority of doctors believed smoking posed significant health risks. By the 1970’s, the majority of Americans believed that smoking had deleterious effects. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until the late 80’s that overall smoking rates began to plummet. The transition did not occur because a doctor or scientist said smoking was bad for one’s health, it occurred because smoking became socially unacceptable.

Unfortunately, in the battle to address climate change we do not have the luxury of time for opinion to sway. Fortunately, the strategic marriage of behavioral economics and technology provides the tools to speed up the pendulum. What is needed now is messaging which leverages cutting edge research into why we make the choices we do including core drivers such as moral conviction, a desire for equality and good old-fashioned peer pressure. (For a quick introduction read Contagious by Jonah Berger).

One need only look to the events of last week to see how opinions can change in a timeframe exponentially quicker than in the past. As recently as the late 90’s, the vast majority of American opposed extending marriage rights to the LBGT community. Just over a decade later, over half the nation supports marriage rights.

There is little doubt that some of the explanation for this remarkable achievement lies with Americans expanding their view of morality and furthering equality. However, it would be shortsighted to discount the tremendous impact of peer pressure. Last week, despite little coordinated effort, nearly 3 million Americans changed their Facebook profile to support marriage equality. These 3 million individual decisions provided a social cue to tens of millions more.

What does this all mean for the efforts to address climate change? It means that we must move beyond statistics about the beliefs of 99% scientists. It means we must move beyond over-reliance on frames, such as the plight of the polar bear, which only speak to certain segments of society. It means we must make addressing climate the moral imperative of the day and use technology-assisted peer pressure to spread the message. We have the knowledge and technology to be good ancestors, its time to leverage it.

Doug Glancy
Principal Resileris

Doug has over a decade working on climate, energy and sustainability issues across the public, private and nonprofit sectors. He holds a BS in Political Science from Trinity College and MBA/MS from the University of Michigan, where he focused on climate change and corporate sustainability. In addition to speaking engagements, Doug has contributed to a groundbreaking report on Corporate Climate Change Strategies for the Pew Center on Climate Change, and led two delegations to the United Nations Climate Change Conference. He is an Executive Board member of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

The piece also fits well with my earlier pieces

The Optimist’s Time,

The Role of Short Timers

A Bridge of Time.


Links to the Series

Setting Up the Discussion Deciding to do something, definition of mitigation and adaptation, and a cost-benefit anchored framework for thinking about mitigation

Smoking, Marriage and Climate Behavioral changes and peer pressure

Organizing and Growing Individual Efforts A little detail on efficiency and thinking about how individuals can have more impact than just that of a single person

The Complete List Eight categories of things we can do to reduce greenhouse gases

We Are What We Eat Food and agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions

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Quoting spathy:
Mr Rood I like your blog theme.It has connections.
Smoking has added costs that are revealed years later,in health care expenditures.
Gay marriage shows a fairly rapid response to citizen (change of heart).
They are two completely different agendas /or societal shifts.
Where they link is societal shift from the "norm" and how they effect the future is quite different yet just as profound.

Smoking and the related health costs add considerable monetary demands on the health care industry(insurance) and Government dictated health programs.
Private health insurance companies were ahead of the expense curve until Gov stepped in and started mandating minimum coverage and employing Kennedy style "fixes".HMO
Then they had to minimize rapidly increasing adjustments (costs),otherwise loose multitudes of paying consumers because of drastic insurance mandates. As a result costs went up due to unintended consequences and direct care vs reward for payment further separated from reality of business consumerism.


Gay Marriage on the other-hand is much less an obvious result equation.


Like it or not our Governmental/legislative foundations are not separated from religion and the basic limited authority of gov rule.
Our basic necessary rules of law are based on morality.
Throughout history(Worldwide) Marriage has been defined as a religious union between one man and one woman.
Again.....
Where things go astray is when Gov gets involved.

Gov as in Federal Gov should not give benefit to or have punishment of(via taxes or any other legislative dictate) the religious union of man/woman.

Yet within the negative Constitutional allowances to the federal gov they must base laws on basic moral grounds.

I can(as a Gay Man)get "married" in the eyes of God at any time I wish.
But the state or Federal Government has no obligation or DUTY to recognize my Holy union under god!


But remember they also cant reward (recognize) or penalize my human rite to join together in holy matrimony.

All legal disputes with the remaining private industries or entities are disputes with the said entities and the individuals.

Now as this blog topic relates to Global warming and the individuals responsibility to mitigate or respond to its possible effects.
That is up to the individual(masses)/States, and under the United States Constitution,and its limits on the Federal Governments powers,it is up the the majority of the individuals and their ability to pass a Constitutional amendment to change the powers of the Federal Gov.
Congresses usurpation to Federal agencies to enact law is a disenfranchisement of the voting citizen,and a Bastardization of our layers of Governmental foundations and separations.
So yes societal "evolution" will always occur. How that translates into Proper law is another matter.
We as a society cant usurp our process of law just because of feel good or squeaky wheel vociferousness.
Our Governmental design is meant to be slow and arduous. Gridlock is a must result of our governance.
Any sidestep via any political party is bound to create chaos,discontent and a breakdown of the rule of law.
So get the Gov out of Religion and keep Gov a Constitutional framework that has a basis in morality/basic law.

Global warming agendas are no different to any agenda. How American society decides to implement societal (change of heart)is the basic question.
Change within our fundamental workings ? Or change despite our framework just because the perceived goals justify the means.

Straying from a Societies Constitution are the seeds for revolution.


I disagree. Throughout history many different cultures including ancient China, Rome, and what is now Europe has same sex unions. It wasn't until the spread of Christianity that this practice was deemed punishable by death. I would argue that Judeo-Christian principles usurped what a union of two people meant. Frankly, a religious institution has the right to discriminate based on their definition of marriage, the government does not have that same right, no matter where the concept came from. That is simply the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment at work. Morality in this case is completely subjective. I see nothing immoral in the love between two people.

As far as the government's role in global warming. The government has within it's constitutional powers, to regulate commerce. This is where the government needs to step in and makes sensible regulations to try and halt the destruction of the planet. Some would argue these regulations should be pretty harsh, I'm undecided there so far.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3390
Quoting RevElvis:
Recognizing and Dealing with Trolls


teamtechnology.co.uk


(Great article about the "garden variety" types of "Trolls" and their various "game plans")

main article

That's pretty interesting. Both links but especially the first. Thanks for posting it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Astrometeor:


I have a horrible example, yes. The turn of the 19th to 20th centuries and the private sector deciding to go against convention and use gas instead of the duct-tape of energy back then-electricity or electric cars.

If I thought about it some more, I might be able to come up with a better response.
If that's what you mean by private enforcement, then I think there are a lot of examples. Private sector industries often decide to make something or change something and then either convince the public they need this new thing (eg a new car at least every two years because styles have changed - see Detroit in the 1950s, 60s, etc), or make sure the new thing is the only version available (eg 8 track tapes to cassette tapes to CDs - or flashbulbs to flash cubes [which you've probably never seen] to built in flash).

So with climate change, where are we going to find similar private sector activity? One would think that energy companies would see a future in alternative energy sources, but it is currently more profitable to continue pursuing fossil fuels than it is to change over to other means of energy production. Where is the motivation for private sector changes going to come from?
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2371
Quoting etxwx:


Sorry Naga. Late in response...long day here..and I'm a slow typist. :)

Yes, sometimes shaming can have a place in shaping behavior (raised kids…so yep, sometimes it’s the right tool but I tried to use it sparingly so it made a real impression) I’m just not sure it’s the right tool on a scientific blog.

Frankly, as a non-scientific person, it makes a favorable impression on me when bogus information is dealt with in a straightforward, matter of fact, and politely dismissive way. To me, shame and ridicule, no matter how well deserved, have little place on a scientific forum. The facts are the facts even they have to be repeated 47 times.

Believe me, I do understand the frustration that knowledgeable members feel dealing with some of the same bogus stuff over and over again. But I do wonder sometimes if it’s possible to unintentionally convey power to a bogus argument by how someone responds to it. Sometimes a powerful response can give unnecessary weight to a bogus post when that post is only worthy of a matter of fact dismissal.

That’s just my personal view – I understand different folks respond in different ways and it sure keeps things interesting.



You're most likely right when it comes to the blog. I was thinking shaming and labeling on a larger scale, in full view of the public (like the culture in Japan). In terms of the blog, it's always hard to not be a jerk in response to a bogus argument. We are very passionate and that passion comes out in many forms.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3390
Quoting JohnLonergan:


Three examples of how well the free markets address negative externalities that immediately come to mind are:

1. The Cuyahoga River Fire

2. Love Canal

3. Woburn Massachusetts Groundwater Contamination Incident



I agree, but all these instances of environmental justice took place during a time when conservatism (not to be confused with today's neo-conservatism, or modern day tea party republicanism) was still hand in hand with conservation. Nixon proposed the EPA after all. Also, while I may be on the left, my ire is not towards the old school republican/conservatives. The new ideology, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3390
Quoting Naga5000:


Regulation is a funny thing. Corporations have shown countless times throughout history that they will push the extremes of ethics in exchange for profit. Corporations have also shown compassion and willingness to help society. In this case, with years of record profits from the energy sector as well as mounds of funding to deny the science behind climate change, I truly believe the government needs to step in. I think massive income equality is evidence enough to no longer trust the current batch of corporations to do the right thing here.


Three examples of how well the free markets address negative externalities that immediately come to mind are:

1. The Cuyahoga River Fire

2. Love Canal

3. Woburn Massachusetts Groundwater Contamination Incident

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Quoting Naga5000:


Shaming and labeling are effective techniques in all of this too. If we shame and label those who reject the science and reality of a warming world, that behavior moves from a secondary deviance into a primary deviance. That deviant group then becomes the outcasts and the normative behavior is acceptance of the science and change. As a sociologist, I don't particularly condone this method of social change, but that doesn't make it any less of a working method.


Sorry Naga. Late in response...long day here..and I'm a slow typist. :)

Yes, sometimes shaming can have a place in shaping behavior (raised kids…so yep, sometimes it’s the right tool but I tried to use it sparingly so it made a real impression) I’m just not sure it’s the right tool on a scientific blog.

Frankly, as a non-scientific person, it makes a favorable impression on me when bogus information is dealt with in a straightforward, matter of fact, and politely dismissive way. To me, shame and ridicule, no matter how well deserved, have little place on a scientific forum. The facts are the facts even they have to be repeated 47 times.

Believe me, I do understand the frustration that knowledgeable members feel dealing with some of the same bogus stuff over and over again. But I do wonder sometimes if it’s possible to unintentionally convey power to a bogus argument by how someone responds to it. Sometimes a powerful response can give unnecessary weight to a bogus post when that post is only worthy of a matter of fact dismissal.

That’s just my personal view – I understand different folks respond in different ways and it sure keeps things interesting.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Astrometeor:
From the last blog, I just want to thank everyone who offered me advice on my glacier studying (Xulonn, sent you a wu-mail) Leatherneck, I will check out that site, and FLWolverine, I fully intend to using Google. ;)

In response to this blog, I am what is considered a conservative. So, while I accept the fact that there is CC and it is/can be/will be very detrimental to the Earth and to human survival, I would like to keep government interaction at a minimum. Private enforcement has worked on other issues, and I believe with conviction from the public, will work again.


Regulation is a funny thing. Corporations have shown countless times throughout history that they will push the extremes of ethics in exchange for profit. Corporations have also shown compassion and willingness to help society. In this case, with years of record profits from the energy sector as well as mounds of funding to deny the science behind climate change, I truly believe the government needs to step in. I think massive income equality is evidence enough to no longer trust the current batch of corporations to do the right thing here.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3390
Quoting FLwolverine:
I think it would be useful to explore that idea a little further, starting with an example of where private enforcement as worked on other issues. We might by analogy find some useful approaches. So do you have an example?


I have a horrible example, yes. The turn of the 19th to 20th centuries and the private sector deciding to go against convention and use gas instead of the duct-tape of energy back then-electricity or electric cars.

If I thought about it some more, I might be able to come up with a better response.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Astrometeor:
From the last blog, I just want to thank everyone who offered me advice on my glacier studying (Xulonn, sent you a wu-mail) Leatherneck, I will check out that site, and FLWolverine, I fully intend to using Google. ;)

In response to this blog, I am what is considered a conservative. So, while I accept the fact that there is CC and it is/can be/will be very detrimental to the Earth and to human survival, I would like to keep government interaction at a minimum. Private enforcement has worked on other issues, and I believe with conviction from the public, will work again.
I think it would be useful to explore that idea a little further, starting with an example of where private enforcement as worked on other issues. We might by analogy find some useful approaches. So do you have an example?
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2371
Quoting RevElvis:
Germany Doesn't Get Much Sun. How Did It Become a Leader in Solar Energy?

MotherJones.com

Twenty-two percent of Germany's power is generated with renewables. Solar provides close to a quarter of that. The southern German state of Bavaria, population 12.5 million, has three photovoltaic panels per resident, which adds up to more installed solar capacity than in the entire United States.

In 1991, German politicians from across the political spectrum quietly passed the Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz (renewable energy law), or EEG. It was a little-heralded measure with long-lasting consequences.

Investors began to approach solar and wind power as long-term investments, knowing there was a guaranteed future for renewable energy and a commitment to connecting it to the grid. Paperwork for renewables was streamlined%u2014a big move in bureaucracy-loving Germany. The country invested billions in renewables research in the 1990s, and German reunification meant lots of money for energy development projects in the former East.

Now German companies lead the world in solar research and technology. The handful of companies that make inverters, the devices that reverse the flow of electricity and feed power from rooftop solar panels back into national grids, are almost all German. On a sunny day last May, Germany produced 22 gigawatts of energy from the sun%u2014half of the world's total and the equivalent of 20 nuclear power plants.
That all sounds great, now research further to see the unintended results.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Germany Doesn't Get Much Sun. How Did It Become a Leader in Solar Energy?

MotherJones.com

Twenty-two percent of Germany's power is generated with renewables. Solar provides close to a quarter of that. The southern German state of Bavaria, population 12.5 million, has three photovoltaic panels per resident, which adds up to more installed solar capacity than in the entire United States.

In 1991, German politicians from across the political spectrum quietly passed the Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz (renewable energy law), or EEG. It was a little-heralded measure with long-lasting consequences.

Investors began to approach solar and wind power as long-term investments, knowing there was a guaranteed future for renewable energy and a commitment to connecting it to the grid. Paperwork for renewables was streamlined—a big move in bureaucracy-loving Germany. The country invested billions in renewables research in the 1990s, and German reunification meant lots of money for energy development projects in the former East.

Now German companies lead the world in solar research and technology. The handful of companies that make inverters, the devices that reverse the flow of electricity and feed power from rooftop solar panels back into national grids, are almost all German. On a sunny day last May, Germany produced 22 gigawatts of energy from the sun—half of the world's total and the equivalent of 20 nuclear power plants.
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 25 Comments: 948
Recognizing and Dealing with Trolls


teamtechnology.co.uk


(Great article about the "garden variety" types of "Trolls" and their various "game plans")

main article

Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 25 Comments: 948
Quoting allahgore:


Thanks for that link.


No problem. I would also argue that because they chose e-mail delivery of the survey, the representative sample is skewed. There is still a healthy percentage of our population with no internet access, as crazy as that may sound.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3390
Quoting pintada:


A quick transition while there is still some ecosystem intact is better than extinction.

Simple plan.

I've explained it now three (3) times.
As always the devil lies in the details, Which I noticed you gave none.

I liked the post earlier by etxwx showing what Ontario did. Switching to a mix of green and Nat Gas. This is a good start and a way that makes sense. I notice many on here like to scream and shout about oil, when coal is by far our biggest enemy for what we get out of it to what it produces. I believe many here are blinded by what they see as something making to much profit. I see Exxon and others railed on all the time, while I rarely see anyone if anyone rail on Arch Coal or Peabody for example. Time to see the forest and stop focusing on one tree.
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Quoting Naga5000:


Shaming and labeling are effective techniques in all of this too. If we shame and label those who reject the science and reality of a warming world, that behavior moves from a secondary deviance into a primary deviance. That deviant group then becomes the outcasts and the normative behavior is acceptance of the science and change. As a sociologist, I don't particularly condone this method of social change, but that doesn't make it any less of a working method.
Wow. Light bulb.
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Quoting allahgore:


So you are saying it's too late?


I'm saying that i would rather have a close personal relationship to a draft horse than have my children die horribly before my eyes.
Member Since: July 15, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
Quoting allahgore:


I have never seen the plan, can you please share it one more time?


A quick transition while there is still some ecosystem intact is better than extinction. Leave the carbon in the ground.

Simple plan.

I've explained it now four (4) times.
Member Since: July 15, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
Quoting allahgore:


Did you read the blog topic? 84 % think the climate is changing. Does we the people mean anything to you?


I read the poll. Only 49.9% answered "Yes, I'm convinced" to the question on climate change. Only 37.3& view it as "A serious threat". There is more behind the data... Link
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3390
Quoting Naga5000:


Shaming and labeling are effective techniques in all of this too. If we shame and label those who reject the science and reality of a warming world, that behavior moves from a secondary deviance into a primary deviance. That deviant group then becomes the outcasts and the normative behavior is acceptance of the science and change. As a sociologist, I don't particularly condone this method of social change, but that doesn't make it any less of a working method.


Naga5000 rocks.
Member Since: July 15, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
From the last blog, I just want to thank everyone who offered me advice on my glacier studying (Xulonn, sent you a wu-mail) Leatherneck, I will check out that site, and FLWolverine, I fully intend to using Google. ;)

In response to this blog, I am what is considered a conservative. So, while I accept the fact that there is CC and it is/can be/will be very detrimental to the Earth and to human survival, I would like to keep government interaction at a minimum. Private enforcement has worked on other issues, and I believe with conviction from the public, will work again.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allahgore:


What is lacking is a master plan; people say we need to leave the carbon in the ground! ok now what?


In 1968 when Lydon Johnson gave a speech explaining the dangers of AGW ... In 1972 when Carter made a half good attempt to do something ... someone might have made a master plan easily.

In 1992 when Al Gore published "earth in the balance" there was still a chance for easy, measured responses.

The Greedy Lying Bastards and their toadies have killed the ecosystem.

You have not been paying attention.
Member Since: July 15, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
Quoting allahgore:


What is the timeline to do this? I can see people talking about this 10 yrs from now and nothing being done. There needs to be a master plan drafted and people need to get to work!


I explained how this would happen in a discussion with you on Dr. Master's blog. Social change on this level must be done on the governmental scale while people like us strive to change our individual lifestyles. We do not set the policy on mpg's and emission standards for cars, nor do we regulate the energy sector and oil companies. The first step, like I have said, is resource mobilization. Gather enough public support to change the way government treats the threat. That is our only resource on a gigantic scale. Until then, we educate, do what we can individually, and create groups to put larger pressures on representatives.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3390
Quoting allahgore:



Still waiting for a plan to leave ALL that carbon in the ground!


A quick transition while there is still some ecosystem intact is better than extinction.

Simple plan.

I've explained it now three (3) times.
Member Since: July 15, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
Quoting etxwx:
Personally I don’t think outright ridicule, or shaming are going to work as well as practical reasoning for most people.

We do need to keep in mind we all respond to different approaches and that’s okay. I think most adults respond reasonably well to a practical, factual approach – even though it may take time for them to come around. Even if you don't respect the other person's viewpoint, it's still best to treat them with basic respect. Otherwise you disrespect yourself...or at least that's how my dear mom used to put it.

If someone is concerned with finances, then gearing the information toward economic concerns might resonate with them. Find the approach that makes the most sense to them. I agree with bappit, facts are best presented succinctly and jargon free. Sometime a simple sentence - even if it's a slogan like the “Don’t Mess with Texas - can make an impression where a 15 minute argument doesn’t.

But beyond reasoning, because we are human and humans are social creatures, we do respond to our peer group’s norms and influences. On some level most folks want to fit in – or at least not be the weird outcast all the time. Back in the hunter gatherer days, survival could depend on it.

I think we are most influenced by people we respect or look up to. We can also be influenced by people or things we think are cool – whether those things are good for us or not. That’s just human nature. If societal pressure reinforces a good productive change (like anti-smoking) then both society and individuals can benefit.

I know reason doesn’t always work, and some folks are just flat out hard headed. But I think most successful parents, bosses or teachers will tell you that while shame and ridicule may get temporary results, respect, thoughtful reasoning and finding an example that resonates with the other person will produce longer lasting results - along with persistence - lots and lots of patient persistence.

I'm too old to have been influenced by today's social media, but I sure do remember plenty of TV ads. Think about the ads, the campaigns, causes, or other things that may have influenced you. How did they do it? Likely they appealed to your better nature, or sense of right and wrong, or the "cool" factor, or maybe even employed humor but most of all, you heard them over and over again, right? And, okay, maybe they were a little cutesy sometimes, or am I the only one who remembers Woodsy Owl and “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”? And Smokey Bear “Only YOU can prevent forest fires” ?

Yes, I know - not very scientific, but effective, no?


Shaming and labeling are effective techniques in all of this too. If we shame and label those who reject the science and reality of a warming world, that behavior moves from a secondary deviance into a primary deviance. That deviant group then becomes the outcasts and the normative behavior is acceptance of the science and change. As a sociologist, I don't particularly condone this method of social change, but that doesn't make it any less of a working method.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3390
Quoting allahgore:



Still waiting for a plan to leave ALL that carbon in the ground!


I have spoken multiple times on this. In order to get to that point, we must begin a weening process. You can't go from where we are now to no fossil fuels overnight. The starting point is getting overwhelming public support and electing public servants who are not in the pockets of big energy and that do not reject the science. Where we can start is by making rational economic decisions of our own. When it's time to buy a new vehicle, buy the most eco friendly one you can afford, install those solar panels for the hot water heater, etc. Small efforts on the individual scale will have massive returns when multiplied. I don't even know if leaving "ALL" that carbon in the ground is possible, but I know greatly reducing it is.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3390
LOL, shore.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Personally I don’t think outright ridicule, or shaming are going to work as well as practical reasoning for most people.

We do need to keep in mind we all respond to different approaches and that’s okay. I think most adults respond reasonably well to a practical, factual approach – even though it may take time for them to come around. Even if you don't respect the other person's viewpoint, it's still best to treat them with basic respect. Otherwise you disrespect yourself...or at least that's how my dear mom used to put it.

If someone is concerned with finances, then gearing the information toward economic concerns might resonate with them. Find the approach that makes the most sense to them. I agree with bappit, facts are best presented succinctly and jargon free. Sometime a simple sentence - even if it's a slogan like the “Don’t Mess with Texas - can make an impression where a 15 minute argument doesn’t.

But beyond reasoning, because we are human and humans are social creatures, we do respond to our peer group’s norms and influences. On some level most folks want to fit in – or at least not be the weird outcast all the time. Back in the hunter gatherer days, survival could depend on it.

I think we are most influenced by people we respect or look up to. We can also be influenced by people or things we think are cool – whether those things are good for us or not. That’s just human nature. If societal pressure reinforces a good productive change (like anti-smoking) then both society and individuals can benefit.

I know reason doesn’t always work, and some folks are just flat out hard headed. But I think most successful parents, bosses or teachers will tell you that while shame and ridicule may get temporary results, respect, thoughtful reasoning and finding an example that resonates with the other person will produce longer lasting results - along with persistence - lots and lots of patient persistence.

I'm too old to have been influenced by today's social media, but I sure do remember plenty of TV ads. Think about the ads, the campaigns, causes, or other things that may have influenced you. How did they do it? Likely they appealed to your better nature, or sense of right and wrong, or the "cool" factor, or maybe even employed humor but most of all, you heard them over and over again, right? And, okay, maybe they were a little cutesy sometimes, or am I the only one who remembers Woodsy Owl and “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”? And Smokey Bear “Only YOU can prevent forest fires” ?

Yes, I know - not very scientific, but effective, no?
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Quoting bappit:
Or should I say to leverage your heads?
That might give some people a headache.

When it comes to the spread of information, Twitter and Facebook can be powerful. Though I don't post on either, I know the good effect these social media have on getting weather and emergency information to the general public. Anyway. Whatever.

The info presented by graph in Ricky Rood's previous blog could be translated into fifth-grade English, Spanish and other languages, illustrated and distributed by government offices online and in pamphlet form - like the health dept literature on quitting smoking. Establish a hotline (Is there one? If not, why not?) where citizens can call, order information and learn about how to conserve energy and therefore save money. Make it a public health campaign. Just like what happened with do your own breast exam and get a mammogram. You know what I mean?

Of course this is U.S-related and/or for a society that has electricity and running water and basic needs met like food and shelter.
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And really, how does one make any activity socially unacceptable?

The action must become associated with ridicule, shame, and confrontation. Deniers should be shamed, ridiculed, and confronted using the most aggressive methods available to us. The insane, the psychopaths, the a$$holes, and the paid liars need to be called out and shamed into silence, then and only then, will people actually begin to tell their representatives to act.


Speaking of train wrecks...
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Doug Glancy wrote: "The transition did not occur because a doctor or scientist said smoking was bad for one's health, it occurred because smoking became socially unacceptable."

I don't buy that, but there may be some analogy worth applying. Most people I have known who successfully quit cigarettes did so for health reasons including pressure you might call "the love of their families" OR because the cost dollar-wise became more than they were willing to spend.

(Add, A Neo note: Left a comment for you on previous blog rather than bringing that discussion thread forward. Ciao)
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Quoting Doug Glancy:
By the 1970’s, the majority of Americans believed that smoking had deleterious effects. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until the late 80’s that overall smoking rates began to plummet. The transition did not occur because a doctor or scientist said smoking was bad for one’s health, it occurred because smoking became socially unacceptable.


And really, how does one make any activity socially unacceptable?

The action must become associated with ridicule, shame, and confrontation. Deniers should be shamed, ridiculed, and confronted using the most aggressive methods available to us.

The insane, the psychopaths, the a$$holes, and the paid liars need to be called out and shamed into silence, then and only then, will people actually begin to tell their representatives to act.

(Telling representatives in the US to act will probably be fruitless, given that they are owned by the oil companies, but still ... )

( What would happen to a holocaust denier on this (or any other) mainstream site? )

Time-Warner wants us to be polite and will make sure that we are polite. The mods must keep their jobs, so they are and will continue to watch. (I've talked about that before, no point doing it again.). So ...

Be polite, let the Greedy lying bastards and their toadies post their filth - oh, and you can - with nice polite facts - refute the lies till the cows come home.

Reading this forum is like watching a train wreck ... LOL ... but then again, so is watching the arctic melt, the oceans turn to toxic acid, and my local forests die. I cant turn away. So I post.
Member Since: July 15, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
,...(There also is a kind of holier than thou aspect to touting one's own energy efficiency that puts me off.)...

Smug Alert!
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Or should I say to leverage your heads?
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A recent Geico add more or less sums up the public perception issue, I think. The add is a good news, bad news kind of thing. I think the line in the ad goes something like, "Does your organic kale have a large carbon footprint?"

The good news is that they used the phrase "carbon footprint". The bad news is that they used it to help characterize the person asking the question in a negative way. Using Gallagher smashing watermelon as a foil, it paints people concerned about climate change as unhappy, prissy worry worts.

Personally I don't like the tack of, ummm, basically being concerned about what the neighbors think since it plays directly into this negative stereotype. (There also is a kind of holier than thou aspect to touting one's own energy efficiency that puts me off.) It would be more practical to use the ballot box and law suits.

Forget social media. Use your heads.
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Sign the petition to stop Keystone XL!!
Member Since: July 15, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
Good examples of new smart ideas may help as well to encourage minds for change ...

Spain pumps wave power onto European grid
The surf in the Bay of Biscay, off Spain's north coast, has claimed countless lives in shipwrecks over the centuries. Spanish engineers have found a way to harness the power of these waves to produce electricity. ...
Spain is exploring the relatively young wave power industry after investing heavily in solar and wind power for decades. Every wave that rolls into the Mutriku wave plant sets 16 turbines spinning with the help of oscillating water columns (OWC) technology....

Read the whole article on Deutsche Welle English
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 54 Comments: 5950
Quoting Doug Glancy:
What does this all mean for the efforts to address climate change? It means that we must move beyond statistics about the beliefs of 99% scientists. It means we must move beyond over-reliance on frames, such as the plight of the polar bear, which only speak to certain segments of society. It means we must make addressing climate the moral imperative of the day and use technology-assisted peer pressure to spread the message. We have the knowledge and technology to be good ancestors, its time to leverage it.
Thanks Doug. You may have noticed my challenges to some AGW/CC denialists here at Dr. Rood's blog/forum the past over the past couple of days, as well as the continuous efforts in that arena by my fellow regulars. We know that we have little chance of changing the minds of individual denialists, but there are lurkers and readers here who can see the weakness of their positions, and their desperate attempts to support their positions with bad and pseudo-science, myths and outright untruths.

It is this group of internet media users (lurkers and readers) that Nea, FlWolverine, Naga5000, OleLeatherneck and other "regulars" hope to influence. We are quite aware that this "invisible audience" exists, and hope that that our efforts at exerting "technology-assisted" peer pressure is worth the effort. We are aware of the fact that we may never know the real results of our efforts, or the size of our audience here at the WU/CC blog/forum. But we soldier on. We are not "preaching to the choir" but rather, "reaching out to the invisible."

And, my fellow "regulars," I hope that I am not of place in attempting to speak for us as a group. Your comments are welcome.

PS: I hope to be able to do a talk soon on climate change and its possible effects of AGW/CC on the tropical rain forest ecosystems here in Panama, a narrow isthmus country with an east-west orientation and ranging from 7° to 9° N latitude. The event, if I can pull it off, will be as a guest speaker at the weekly expat meeting and local market here in Boquete in the highlands of western Panama.

The level of ignorance about the subject of AGW/CC displayed by otherwise intelligent members of the expat community here is appalling. We have "an ice age is coming" on-line community member who would be a perfect partner for our own "iceagecoming'. He gets his info from iceagenow.info Structuring the talk and the Q&A period will be interesting.

I will try to convince a WU weather-station owner here who is a retired psychologist to co-host this event with me. I will also document my first journey into a public arena on this controversial subject here at the WU/CC blog/forum.

Nea, you should not read the pages at my link - it might make you depressed. ;-)

From the "IceAgeNow website:
Robert W. Felix, author of Not by Fire but by Ice and Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps, attended the University of Minnesota School of Architecture in the mid-1960s.

Upon graduation he traveled throughout the U.S. working with architects and builders from Florida to Colorado to Alaska. In the early 1970s he settled in Tucson, where he designed and built more than 300 custom homes and small office buildings.

In the early 1990s, drawn by a different passion, he signed up for further studies at the University of Washington. He spent the next eight years, full-time, researching and writing about the coming ice age.

Felix is not affiliated with any university, scientific establishment, or corporation, and therein lies his strength. Untainted by institutional bias or conventional wisdom this architect turned author brings fresh insight to the study of the ice ages.



Member Since: June 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1452
Some nice thoughts in the blog. Just don't tell people you meet on the street that we need to leverage stuff. Your credibility will go to nil. We already have a perfectly good verb for that idea and we should use it.
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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.

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