Climate change is a tough sell. People are aware of the perils of environmental damage and climate change, but somehow think they are too far away: it’s not a clear and present danger. A record number of Americans, 7 out of 10, believe that climate change is real, and the majority understand that human activity is largely to blame, according to a January poll. But still leaves 30 percent who are skeptical, and there are still key politicians who are unconvinced.
Perhaps, scientists should try telling stories rather than rattle off statistics of doom. Rather than lobby them with more facts, perhaps climate scientists should send naysayers to the movies, suggests a CNN feature.
Ever since the 1973 cult classic "Soylent Green" introduced audiences to the food shortages climate change will bring, movie makers and television show producers have been scaring people about it. Apple TV will run a TV series called "Losing Earth" this year, and TNT will turn the movie "Snowpiercer" into a TV series. There's even a catchy name for this climate change fiction genre: cli-fi.
What experts tell us, though, is that cli-fi isn't just wholesome dystopian entertainment; it seems to help people believe in actual climate change, even when Hollywood's version of the science is a bit off.
"Story is one of the oldest and most powerful forms of communications we ever had. When someone says 'now, let me tell you a story ...' something goes 'zzzzzt' in your brain. It's like when you were a child and your parent says they are going to tell you a bedtime story. It automatically opens you up, " said Anthony Leiserowitz, a senior research scientist at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.