Communicating for Change: Anthony Leiserowitz on Climate Change Psychology

Sat, 2013-01-19 07:00Jim Hoggan
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Communicating for Change: Anthony Leiserowitz on Climate Change Psychology

When it comes to climate change, Yale's Anthony Leiserowitz says, “you almost couldn't design a problem that is a worse fit with our underlying psychology”; an insight that is all too apparent. 

In spite of the dramatic increase in extreme weather events and growing scientific concern, climate change is seldom mentioned by politicians, business leaders or the news media in Canada and the US. While public concern is on the rise, public pressure to fix the problem is flagging. 

In this recent interview, Bill Moyers asks Leiserowitz to explain the state of public opinion surrounding climate change and what might be done to improve climate change communications.


Anthony Leiserowitz is an excellent communicator! I was very impressed … if I did not already believe in climate change he would sell me on it. He also made some excellent points on what has to be done.

climate change, mosquito

In May 2000 in the town of Walkerton, Ontario, heavy rains swept water containing the O157:H7 strain of E. coli bacteria from a nearby farm into a well of drinking water. For almost two weeks, the two city workers in charge of water quality claimed that there was no danger. Meanwhile, 2300 people fell inexplicably ill and seven died.

City managers Stan and Frank Koebel both faced criminal charges for their part in the slow response to the outbreak. In his report, Justice Dennis O'Connor lambasted the provincial cuts to the Environment Ministry, which lead to the incompetence on the...

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