Climate Change

We have good reasons to believe that Climate Change is real. And yet, in spite of the projected disaster, we do very little. Why?

The interview here sheds some light on the problem of communicating the nature of the problem.

Two days after the 2016 presidential election I found myself eavesdropping on Paul Lussier and a group of students at the Yale School of Forestry and the Environment as they discussed the future of climate science. The students feared that the things they held dear—renewable energy, sustainable development, ecological conservation (and no doubt their careers)—would be derailed by Donald Trump, who has expressed skepticism about climate change.

I listened as Lussier, who directs the Yale Science Communications with Impact Network, reminded them how researchers, businesspeople, policymakers, and media can work together to inspire action around climate change, regardless of the government’s stance on the issue.

The following is an edited version of our conversation.

Catherine Halley: You’re a literary critic by training and spent a long time as a journalist. Where does your affinity for science come from?

Paul Lussier: Through media. I was both a producer and a buyer of programming, as well as a writer. My experience with the Discovery Channel really prompted me to see that the media world was stuck in a single-issue, literal-minded, planetary care and responsibility and stewardship ethos. We were trying essentially to activate people around the science and activate planetary concern. The bottom line is, it doesn’t work.