Why the consumer is ill-informed about climate change?

Surely, I am not a modern consumer. One of the differences lies in the knowledge of the ecological problems we’re facing today. Since I left school I read articles in the newspaper, especially scientific caterns. Together with my education at Wageningen University and the research I did thereafter, I became an expert.
Many times I wondered how on earth it is possible that the modern consumer knows so little about the crisis we’re facing. In the past 50 years the scientific knowledge has exploded and scientists are sounding the alarms for many years. Today I rediscovered a schema that I made several years ago for one of my books about sustainability and lifestyle.

The long way from scientific research results to the consumer, showing many steps, media and obstacles. Schema by Caspar Bosma.

Starting at the scientific findings, the results of scientific research is published in scientific papers. Individual scientists sometimes publish in specialized media and scientific journals. From there the knowledge ‘drips down’ to general media like newspapers, magazines, websites and social media. To finally reach the consumer, it have to pass several hurdles like denial, repression and downplaying. Besides that there is a strong opposing force from marketing. Information on social media and sometimes of the government can also interfere.

This could be the reason why 30 years of climate science1 didn’t result in a well-informed consumer. And an explanation why climate scientists still have the feeling not to be heard.

  1. How much Earth has warmed since a NASA scientist’s warning 30 years ago | https://www.axios.com/2018/06/23/how-much-earth-has-warmed-since-hansen-testified ↩︎

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