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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Don’t Trust Your Elders on Climate Change

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Environment, climate change, climate change denial, climate change skepticism, George Monbiot, Conservation, Keith Goetzman,

Senior citizen roastClimate-change denial is spreading like a contagion across the land, with fewer Americans believing the world is warming than the number who did just a few years ago—all while the scientific consensus has solidified in the opposite direction. What on earth is happening here? George Monbiot speculates in Conservation magazine about the psychological factors at work behind climate change denial, specifically the finding that people over 65 are more likely to be skeptics about climate change:

Monbiot seizes on a 2009 study that brings Becker’s theory to bear specifically on the topic of climate change and may further explain the differences among age groups:

In other words, for seniors to acknowledge that they are wrong about global warming could well mean that they are wrong about a host of other things, and the thought of this world view unraveling is apparently more terrifying to them than the prospect that their grandchildren may live in an environmentally degraded world.

Source: Conservation

Image by batsignal, licensed under Creative Commons.