This may be the last election in which we can vote for our climate future.
Changes in human beliefs, attitudes and behaviors take time. Government action takes even longer. But with about 2,500 days until 2030, when we will reach a “point of no return” on our climate situation, time is the one thing we don’t have.
Yet climate change isn’t at the forefront of most voters’ minds. The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication has found that climate change ranks 24th out of 29 issues voters say they will consider when deciding whom to vote for in the upcoming election. The irony is that climate change is already affecting issues that are top-of-mind for many voters: the economy, national security and health care and, left unchecked, will usher in catastrophic consequences for all human life and our planet’s future.
The large majority of Americans, too, believe we must act on climate change. Three-quarters of Americans support full participation in international climate change efforts, according to a recent analysis by the Pew Research Center, including a majority of Republicans. Research by Beyond Conflict has shown us that our perceptions about our differences on critical issues as Americans are far worse than our actual differences. In other words, we have far more in common than we realize.
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