Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When climate change becomes a health issue, are people more likely to listen?

Date:
July 20, 2010
Source:
George Mason University
Summary:
Framing climate change as a public health problem seems to make the issue more relevant, significant and understandable to members of the public -- even some who don't generally believe climate change is happening, according to new research.

Framing climate change as a public health problem seems to make the issue more relevant, significant and understandable to members of the public -- even some who don't generally believe climate change is happening, according to preliminary research by George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication (4C).

Related Articles


The center recently conducted an exploratory study in the United States of people's reactions to a public health-framed short essay on climate change. They found that on the whole, people who read the essay reacted positively to the information.

Previous research conducted by Mason investigators and others, using people's beliefs, behaviors and policy preferences about global warming as assessed in a national survey, identified six distinct segments of Americans, termed Global Warming's Six Americas.

In the current research, 4C director Edward Maibach interviewed approximately one dozen people in each of the Six Americas after they read the brief essay on the human health implications of global warming. As expected, he found that members of the audience segments who already believe strongly that climate change is happening had a strong positive response to the new information, while people who are less sure if climate change is happening also found value in the information. Nearly half of the comments made by members of the "Disengaged" segment, for example, indicated that the essay reflected their personal point of view, was informative or thought-provoking or offered valuable prescriptive information on how to take action relative to climate change. Moreover, about 40 percent of those people in the "Doubtful" segment had similar positive reactions to the essay.

"Re-defining climate change in public health terms should help people make connection to already familiar problems such as asthma, allergies and infectious diseases, while shifting the visualization of the issue away from remote Arctic regions and distant peoples and animals," says Maibach. "The public health perspective offers a vision of a better, healthier future -- not just a vision of an environmental disaster averted."

The research, which was published in the latest issue of the BioMed Central Public Health journal, also provides clues about specific public health messages that might not be helpful (such as eating less meat) and points to examples or associations that might trigger counter-arguments and negative reactions.

"Many leading experts have suggested that a positive vision for the future, rather than a dire one, is precisely what has been missing from the public dialogue on climate change thus far," says Maibach. "We believe this survey is one step in shaping a way to talk about climate change that will reach all segments of the public -- not just those who already are making behavioral changes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by George Mason University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Edward W Maibach, Matthew Nisbet, Paula Baldwin, Karen Akerlof, Guoqing Diao. Reframing climate change as a public health issue: an exploratory study of public reactions. BMC Public Health, 2010; 10 (1): 299 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-299

Cite This Page:

George Mason University. "When climate change becomes a health issue, are people more likely to listen?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719111957.htm>.
George Mason University. (2010, July 20). When climate change becomes a health issue, are people more likely to listen?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719111957.htm
George Mason University. "When climate change becomes a health issue, are people more likely to listen?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719111957.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins