Eco-Living Magazine

Sensationalism, Scare Tactics, and Climate Change

Posted on the 17 March 2013 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev
Day After Tomorrow

On a recent trip I turned on the television at the hotel and The Day After Tomorrow was on. I avoided watching it while it was in the theaters, and then on DVD. When it came out nearly 10 years ago (which in and of itself is astonishing), I was starting my career as a science teacher. I knew the science was completely absurd, but the biggest issue I have with the film, and the entire nature disaster genre is that it creates a sense of hopelessness.

The issue (climate change) is enormous. Scaring the crap out of people doesn’t help focus on the problem. It only serves to make them less inclined to do anything by inculcating a sense of despair. Similarly, focusing on charismatic megafauna such as polar bears and pandas doesn’t do much to persuade people to act. Some inevitably will do something because they want to save the cuddly animals (sorry Max), though, there’s nothing cuddly about a 12 foot tall carnivore (a polar bear standing on its hind legs). Repeatedly in the past, we’ve made the point on 2nd Green Revolution, and we are not alone here, that the economic argument is the most powerful for the average individual, in the United States at least, to act on climate change. Sadly, the messaging here is also falling short. People don’t seem to heed this message. Maybe we’re just too myopic.

By the way, the movie was better than I thought. I mean, it was entertaining at least, but the science was still junk. There’s no concrete evidence to suggest that the earth’s climate will undergo a shift of these proportions in 24-48 hours. Granted, there’s a lot science does not know, and that’s where Hollywood is ready and willing to fill in the gaps.

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