Changing minds on a changing climate
Reddit online commenters point to reasons they went from being climate contrarians to having confidence in mainstream climate science.
The political environment in America is gripped by deep polarization. No news flash there.
Throughout the Presidential campaign and in the initial months of the Trump presidency, the public and their national politicians dig themselves ever deeper into entrenched positions, leaving little hope for compromise or reconciliation.
But sometimes people do the unimaginable: they change their minds.
An AskReddit discussion poses a tantalizing question, “Former climate deniers, what changed your mind?” Responses to the query offer a rare glimpse into the processes of how some people switch camps, outgrowing their parents’ values, having trans-formative experiences, or being worn-down by continually mounting scientific evidence.
The gems of the discussion were 66 posts by people who did a turnabout on their views of climate change. Their comments provide insightful narratives describing the origins of their skeptical beliefs, the reasons they changed their opinions, and the events that caused them to reverse course. Their comments reported below have been lightly edited in a few cases to fix the kinds of typos that routinely characterize such online chats.
One helpful commenter suggested, “Someone needs to take these stories, make a ’10 people who stopped fearing science – number 7 will shock you.’” So I pulled out all the responses, analyzed them for common themes, and digested the takeaways. Wait ’til you see number four. 04-18-17