Unless you’ve lost your home to a super-charged hurricane, evacuated from wildfire country, or survived some other kind of climate disaster, it’s not too hard to live as if we weren’t in the middle of a planetary crisis. Sure, scientists keep issuing dire warnings, but you can tune them out by switching the TV channel or leaving that depressing book on the shelf.
It’s more difficult, however, to brush off your friends and family when they start talking about climate change. Political persuasion matters less than you might think. Liberals and conservatives alike shift their opinions on the subject to align with the people closest to them, according to two new studies from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
“The most important messengers are right around us, and that’s our friends and family,” said Matthew Goldberg, a social psychologist at Yale and the lead author on both studies.