The Whitlock Method: Framing Climate Change to Meet Unique Perspectives

If I were to vote on the formal adoption of the Anthropocene epoch to the geological time scale, I would certainly vote yes because of the overwhelming evidence that is present suggesting a drastic geological shift the Earth has only seen a handful of times. Steffen, Crutzen, and McNeill’s explanation of the three stages of the Anthropocene, especially the second stage concerning the Great Acceleration, concretely show that the global climate is reaching uncharted territory (which coincides with an overall acceleration of human enterprise as shown by several time scale charts) (Steffen et al. pg. 617). This article along with the article presented by Elizabeth Kolbert also highlights why I believe the start of the Anthropocene should be marked at the year 1800, as the Industrial Era markedly began in 1800 following the invention of the steam engine by James Watt in the late 18th century and the graphical representations showing the spikes in population, the global economy, and energy use and consumption (Steffen et al. 616), and a considerable increase in carbon dioxide levels as shown by samples of ice cores (Kolbert, p. 4).

Kahan’s argument that people’s views are based more on their need to fit in with their social peers rather than on their lack of knowledge severely affects our ability to develop remediating solutions to climate change because this need forces people to interpret the data presented in a way that best fits their current environment and social surroundings. Dr. Whitlock addressed this problem head on by presenting groups (farmers, stakeholders, businessmen\businesswomen, etc.) with their calculated data and conversing with them about how these concerning levels of climate change directly affect their living. I also think this technique also serves as an excellent framework for how to inform and converse with people about climate change, as it frames climate change towards each groups’ unique perspective and explains to them how climate change directly impacts their way of living.

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