Thursday, February 24, 2011
Here is an interesting story describing the failure of scientists to convince Americans about global warming. The description of the challenge reads like a case study in how not to do media relations. Included in the discussion is the typical "blame-the-media" excuse. The article would seem laughable, if the situation were not so serious. Global warming is a fact that has been confused, denied, obscured and otherwise garbled. Left out of the scientists' discussion was the self-interested component of those who deny facts. Global warming implies the need for a personal change in habits, a change few want to undertake. Science must realize that it is engaged in a long-term PR campaign without overnight success. It was no different with anti-smoking campaigns. It took nearly 40 years to convince the American public that people were killing themselves by lighting up, and the frustration of anti-smoking campaigners during the fight was similar to what scientists face now over global warming. Rather than blaming the media, science must keep adding to the evidence and explaining until it wears down resistance.