How to talk about climate change with a denier

While ranting and complaining about climate change deniers and denialism is perhaps cathartic, it may not be the most effective way to bring about change. Luckily, Science Friday and NPR have a fantastic piece about how to talk about climate change with a denier (and here is a link to the full podcast):

Many of us have debated the threat of climate change with our friends, family, and strangers on the internet. But not everyone believes that anthropogenic climate change exists or views it as a problem relevant to their everyday lives. And, as we’ve seen lately in the political world, facts aren’t always enough.

Luckily, we recently invited a panel of climate scientists, a psychologist, and a couple callers to join us on Science Friday and share advice on how to have a conversation about climate change that could change a skeptic’s mind. Here are their tips:

For thermal sciences professor John Abraham, climate change’s relevance to the average person doesn’t come down to cute and cuddly animals from far-off places. It comes down to the real changes that are happening in people’s backyards.

“I will talk about wildfires in Tennessee that are affecting Americans’ lives this winter. I will talk about the drought in California, which is the worst in 1,200 years. I’ll talk about the changes to habitat for hunters, fishermen, and farmers. These people’s lives are being affected by climate change. And when you can bring the impacts to their lives, it’s a much more compelling case to be made.”

“The fact of the matter is, solar and wind production costs have dropped incredibly over the past three decades,” said Abraham. “And they’re still dropping. And they’re now almost on par with coal.

“So if we can have energy that is clean at the same price as the dirty energy, well, it’s just a no-brainer: Throw the climate change and the polar bears out the window. You just make the decision based on economics.”

“My argument that I used with my family was spinning the morals that they put on me as a child against them,” said Amber, who called in during the show. She told them: “You always told me to take care of stuff and to leave something better than what I was presented with. So if I’m presented with the earth, then I need to leave it better than as you gave it to me. And it’s my earth, so I need to take care of it.

“And if you want to throw in religion, you could also say because God created Earth. So when I presented it that way, all of a sudden, there wasn’t much of an argument.

“We take care of our earth. End of discussion.”

The results are in: Science Celebrities!

Thanks to those that filled out the Science Friday Survey on science celebrities.  The results are in! Check them out and listen to the story! Some results from twitter:

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Shocking to see that 50% of the respondents didn’t believe that scientists have an obligation to be public figures – especially now since science denialism is a huge issue.  It will be interesting to find out what the reasoning is behind that answer!

How could new technology lead to new crimes?

Participate in Science Friday’s twitter brainstorm #CrimeHeadlinesFrom2025:

Some examples:

Happy #CephalopodWeek!

Sharks aren’t the only sea creatures who get their own week!  Thanks to NPR Science Friday, cephalopods are the next to join the trend with #CephalopodWeek.  Octopus, squids, and more!  Celebrate all things tentacled, check out some of the cool videos here.  We can also take this time to remember our favorite Cephalopod, “Paul the Octopus” who predicted so many 2010 World Cup outcomes correctly (We’ll see if Regina can live up to the legacy)!

Cool, intriguing organisms… a little sad to think you wont be able to see them in the Invertebrate Exhibit at the National Zoo anymore.


You’ve GOAT to be kiddin’ me!

Science where you least expect it… A new way to prevent the brush fires that have been ravaging California: GOATS!


Apparently goats like to eat the weeds and shrubs that are so prone to catching on fire.  Businessman/goat herder Ian Newsam discusses this new line of defense against the wild fires in California on the latest Science Friday.  Be sure to check out the GoatPro!