Environmental help: ‘Don’t mention global warming’?


Dr. Wayne Baker is away this week. We welcome back OurValues guest columnist Terry Gallagher, who also is communications director for the Ecology Center, a nonprofit based in Ann Arbor.

Do you have to believe in global warming to turn down the heat?

While polls find that nearly all scientists are convinced that the earth is getting warmer and that human activity is the likely cause, the general public isn’t buying it. In fact, a 2010 Gallup poll reported that “48 percent of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated.” 

That makes it challenging to convince people to make lifestyle changes to reduce their energy use.

So, what to do?

“Don’t mention global warming,” is the advice of Nancy Jackson, chairwoman of the Climate and Energy Project, a small nonprofit group that launched a yearlong competition in Kansas last year that “set out to extricate energy issues from the charged arena of climate politics,” according to an article in the New York Times. “The project ran an experiment to see if by focusing on thrift, patriotism, spiritual conviction and economic prosperity, it could rally residents of six Kansas towns to take meaningful steps to conserve energy and consider renewable fuels.”

It worked! Energy use in the competing towns declined as much as 5 percent relative to other areas. They did it by such simple means as changing the light bulbs on the city Christmas tree and restaurants offering dinner by candlelight on Valentine’s Day.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions isn’t the only reason to conserve energy. It might help you save money, keep you more comfortable—maybe even add a little romance.

So what’s stopping you?

What do you think of this idea?

How would you tackle concerns about global warming?

Please Comment today via the link below:

(Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)


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