As we strive to bridge the partisan divide on climate change, researchers are finding that the views of Republicans and Democrats are not as far apart as we perceive. The problem is that people tend to listen almost exclusively to their tribal leaders. Leaf Van Boven and David Sherman elaborated on this phenomenon in a recent New York Times op-ed. Van Boven is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Sherman is a professor of psychology and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Their valuable insights on this month’s call can inform and improve our approach in generating the political will to enact climate solutions.
How do we leverage our messaging on social media? Aimee Sison, Digital Director with Climate Nexus, works to further the climate change and clean energy narrative across digital and social media platforms. She also works with partners to amplify messages in new, creative ways to online audiences.
Originally from the Philippines, Aimee’s passion for climate change is fueled by seeing her homeland suffer the negative impacts of global warming.
If you want to learn about carbon pricing, Adele Morris is the person to talk to. She is a senior fellow and policy director for Climate and Energy Economics at the Brookings Institution. Her research informs critical decisions related to climate change, energy, and tax policy. She is a leading global expert on the design of carbon pricing policies. Before joining Brookings in July 2008, she worked with the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) of the U.S. Congress, where she advised members and staff on economic, energy, and environmental policy. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University, an M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Utah, and a B.A. from Rice University.
If political will is the key to enacting effective climate policies, there’s a big obstacle that needs to be overcome: Many environmentalists are not showing up to vote. Joining our June call is Nathaniel Stinnett, founder and executive director of Environmental Voter Project. Their mission is to identify citizens concerned about environmental issues who are staying home on election day and turn them into active voters. Stinnett has held a variety of senior leadership and campaign manager positions on U.S. Senate, congressional, state, and mayoral campaigns. He was named one of America’s 50 environmental visionaries and is a frequent speaker on cutting-edge campaign techniques at top universities and campaign management trainings.
One of the more troubling aspects of climate change is its impact on oceans, which are a major source of food and also affect our weather patterns. Joining us for the May call to discuss that impact is Julia Roberson, VP of Communications for Ocean Conservancy. Her passion is communicating about the people and stories behind big environmental issues in a way that leads to action.
Roberson is a skilled writer and media relations professional deeply committed to ocean issues and to finding the intersections between serving nature and people’s needs in our rapidly growing world. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications, Public Relations, from Appalachian State University.
With surveys showing a persistent gap between what scientists say about climate change and what the public thinks scientists believe, it’s clear that Americans need more exposure to the views of scientific experts. As Amber Sullins says, the only scientist most people hear from is the person who delivers the weather forecast every evening. That’s why the Phoenix meteorologist talks about climate change during her reports. Sullins, who holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Arizona in Tucson, joins our call to discuss how meteorologists are helping the public to connect the dots between climate change and our changing weather.
Joan Blades and her husband Wes Boyd co-founded the political action group MoveOn.org in 1997. In 2006, she co-founded MomsRising.org, dedicated to “bringing millions of people, who all share a common concern about the need to build a more family-friendly America, together as a non-partisan force.” Her latest project, Living Room Conversations, seeks to bridge the political divide in America by encouraging people with differing views to come together for respectful discussions. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even allow us to discuss possible solutions.
Our February guest was Celia Paris, Assistant Professor in Political Science at Loyola University. She is currently working on a book manuscript that explores whether Madisonian ideals for deliberative and collaborative political decision-making have lost their appeal. Titled Madison’s ABCs: Why the Public Still Values Accomplishment, Bipartisanship, and Civility in Congress, her book argues that the desire for a more Madisonian approach to politics remains alive and well in the American public and that citizens value accomplishment, bipartisanship, and civility.
How do we communicate effectively with policy makers about climate change? For answers on our January call, we turn to Sabine Marx with the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED). She’s the Director of Research at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) at the Earth Institute, Columbia University and the co-author of “The Psychology of Climate Change Communication.” Dr. Marx joined CRED in 2005 after two years of post-doctoral work at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia’s Earth Institute. She received her Ph.D. in medical history from Carnegie Mellon University and holds a Masters degree in Sociology and Pedagogy, with a minor in Psychology and Art Therapy from the University of Cologne, Germany.
José Aguto is Associate Director of Catholic Climate Covenant, where he raises up the call to care for creation and care for the poor. Prior to joining Catholic Climate Covenant, he was Legislative Secretary for Sustainable Energy and Environment at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Aguto was one of CCL’s earliest allies on Capitol Hill and worked with CCL on the introduction of the Republican Climate Resolution, which eventually led to the formation of the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus. Aguto has also worked for the National Congress of American Indians in the service of tribal governments seeking to address climate change.