Scientists using celebrities to voice message on climate change | Quantumrun

Scientists using celebrities to voice message on climate change

The most arguable scientific issue for over the last two years of climate change is global warning. Global warning has been probably discussed over your family dinner, at the bar with your friends, and at one of your college lectures. The real question that people have been arguing is if global warming is real or a myth.

Here is one viewpoint: scientists overwhelmingly believe that global warming is man-made. From November 2012 through December 2013, there have been 2,258 peer-reviewed climate articles by 9,136 authors. All 9,136 authors, except one author from the Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences, rejected the theory of global warming is man-made – resulting 0.01 per cent of scientists believing global warming is not real. Peer-reviewed climate literature from 1991 through November 12, 2012, of a total of 13,950 articles and only 24 articles rejected the theory. 

But, let's take a look at another viewpoint: 130 Republican members of the House of Representatives or 56 per cent of the caucus have publicly stated that global warming is not real. 30 Republican senators or 65 per cent also believe global warming is not real. That is a total of 160 out of 278 elected Republicans who denied the theory of global warming is man-made – a total of 58 per cent. Therefore, we can say the majority of Republicans are "climate deniers."

The Republicans are very vocal as climate deniers and they are willing to call out anyone who differs with them. Secretary of State John Kerry recently said climate change was the greatest "weapon of mass destruction." Republicans Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich, and John McCain freaked out on Kerry's comment and attacked him on broadcast stations and social media. Gingrich commented on social media stating Kerry is completely out of touch with reality and is in a fantasy world. Senator John McCain stated he was left wondering if he and Kerry are on the same planet and Kerry should not focus on the environment.

Back to the statistics: 58 per cent of Republicans versus 0.01 per cent of scientists denying global warming – that is a big margin. Why we cannot come to an agreement? And if we cannot come to an agreement, how we will react to the environmental concerns in the future?

Since politicians often act upon many citizens to think they are right. For this case, politicians are influencing citizens to believe they are correct on global warming without ever providing any peer-reviewed data to back up their denial. For scientists, they are not being heard and many people do not possess the time or patience to read a scientific peer-review article. If this is the case, polices will not be made on global warming since politicians have a bigger voice than scientists do.

Scientists have today set up a new avenue to make their analysis heard and diffuse the climate deniers. That avenue is having celebrities speak on global warming.

Celebrities on global warming

Years of Living Dangerously*, a 9-part documentary television series, aired on Showtime, discussed the issues of climate change and the public debate that surrounds it. James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, Daniel Abbasi, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are the executive producers.

The documentary series feature celebrities, as investigators who travel to areas around the world and throughout the United States that has been affected by global warming. Each episode, a celebrity interviews experts and people living in those areas on how they are involved, the shocks of climate change, and seek for answers. The celebrities include Harrison Ford, Jessica Alba, Don Cheadle, and Schwarzenegger.

Arnold Schwarzenegger got involved because he has been questioning why the issue of climate change has not yet resonated strongly with the public, despite the warnings from the scientific community.

"I think the environmental movement only can be successful if we are simple and clear and make it a human story. We will tell human stories in this project. The scientists would never get the kind of attention that someone in show business gets," said Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger also discussed the lack of attention scientists are getting with their findings on climate change. Yet politicians' views are heavily publicized in the media. He said the problem was a clearer message and having better, more understandable messengers than the scientists, "I was always wondering why is it that this message does not penetrate. Maybe scientists have to take acting class…"

Maybe Schwarzenegger got a point. Maybe if scientists took acting classes, wear Tom Ford and Givenchy clothing, and start dating a Hollywood starlet, maybe we would start paying attention to them. However, scientists' focus now is having celebrities speak their message.

Heidi Cullen, interim CEO and lead correspondent for Climate Central, and Joe Romm, climate writer and analyst, are the chief science advisors of the documentary series. Cullen said the celebrities are meant to function as "proxies" for the average viewer, posing questions, and exploring uncertainties. "They add, 'a fresh perspective'… all the editors and producers cared so much more or less capturing the science right," she stated.

Having celebrities as proxies may be the most effective means to bring the message of global warming across all citizens, since we are fixed on at least one Hollywood star. Years of Living Dangerously is not the first attempt of having celebrities as proxies to discuss climate change. If we could recall, former Vice President Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, that was shown in movie theatres worldwide and won an Academy Award in 2006 for Best Documentary Film, was highly effective in presenting the climate change issue to the broad public and perused the audience.

Besides, we cannot forget the following year in 2007, the documentary film narrated by actor Leonardo DiCaprio The 11th Hour on environmental issues and climate change.

News content analysis data suggest mainstream media have increasingly reported climate change when a celebrity advocates it. Scholars cheekily call it 'charismatic megafauna.'

Declan Fahy, associate professor at American University's School of Communication, states, celebrities do have a powerful promotional value and can help reach wider audiences. Fahy said, "Their cultural influence goes deeper than just promotion. They personify ideas and social issues. They put a recognizable, individual face on a complex, systemic phenomenon like climate change and therefore make the issue connect with audiences, engaging them on the issue, and potentially mobilizing them to take action… the power of celebrity is real." 

So it seems scientists will out win politicians on the debate of global warming. Only, there is one problem: no one is watching Years of Living Dangerously. The documentary didn't make it on the top 100 cable TV show list and was beaten by a re-run episode of an animated cartoon series. The first episode had a rating of 0.07 and the second episode was a rating of 0.04.

Maybe using celebrities as proxies to discuss climate change isn't the best choice. Scientists now need to begin looking for different alternatives. What will they do? We will all have to wait and see.

Impact 

Climate change has become the most arguable and disscussable issue from the last two years for scientist and the other people. Climate change is mainly due to the Global Warming. These topic is being discussed everywhere at any time but the real question that people have been arguing is if global warming is real or a myth.

Scientists are overwhelmingly believed that global warming is man-made. they have some resource-From November 2012 through December 2013, there have been 2,258 peer-reviewed climate articles by 9,136 authors. All 9,136 authors, except one author from the Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences, rejected the theory of global warming is man-made – resulting 0.01 per cent of scientists believing global warming is not real. Peer-reviewed climate literature from 1991 through November 12, 2012, of a total of 13,950 articles and only 24 articles rejected the theory

Lets wait and see what scientist will do with their new ideas.

* Years of Living Dangerously 9-part series ran from April 13 to June 2, 2014 on Showtime. Check your local listings for air-time and online streaming.

Forecasted start year: 
2014

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