Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Climate change will damage your health!

The skies are crowded with planes, our sclerotic roads clogged with millions of cars – when will we wake up to the urgency of climate change?

Spreading the word about the effect climate change will have on human health. That could be the key.

A group of Swedish psychologists asked 621 participants aged from 18 to 75 whether 44 statements about climate change were true or false. These were arranged into several domains: facts about the state of the climate, the causes of climate change, and the consequences for the weather, sea, glaciers and human health.

For example, a true statement about human health consequences stated: “It is probable that mortality by lung oedema and heart problems during heat waves in Sweden will increase in the next 50 years.”

It was specifically the participants' knowledge about the consequences for human health that most strongly predicted how worried they were about climate change, and how likely they thought it was that serious negative consequences would affect Sweden and other countries in the future. Knowledge of the causes of climate change had a weak association with the participants' perception of risk, but not their concern about that risk.

“A practical implication is that in order to change people's behaviour, more research and focused educational programmes about health consequences should be beneficial,” Eva-Lotta Sundblad and colleagues wrote.

To the researchers' surprise, although women were more worried than men, most demographic factors did not predict participants' worry or sense of risk surrounding climate change. For example, parents were no more concerned than non-parents.

Sundblad, E-L., Biel, A. & Garling, T. (2007). Cognitive and affective risk judgements related to climate change. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 97-106.

Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.


Lord of Logic said...

The cause of climate change is too a large and deep subject for most people to understand. This leaves a sense of helplessness. SO most people discount it, ignore it, and/ or reject it.

How do you get a large group who are used to fast food, TV remotes, and a generally low attention span lifestyle to sit down long enough to understand the basics of thermodynamics, energy conservation, and the effects of physics on earth. Then how do you talk the drug addicted oil junkies to just stop? They will have thousands of excuses why they can't, won't, or shouldn't have to.

Douglas Eason said...

Great to think of a new way of getting people to take climate change seriously, but I don't feel it will do much more than any other attempts.

An example would be Warning Labels on Cigarette packets. That is a clear example of people actually being told "THIS IS BAD FOR YOU!" Some countries went as far as putting pictures of smokers' lungs on the packets.

Did work as well as one might have thought. Many of my friends are still smoking up a storm.

Climate Change needs Governmental involvement on a massive scale, like they did with banning smoking indoors.

Yes, everyone has to make an effort, but until the government actually does something to prevent emissions, no one is going to give up their conveniences

Scott D. McArthur said...

Agree with rednose but we all have to watch out that we are not greenwashed!

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