When compared to other nations, America is relatively isolated from climate change. However as wildfires increase, tornado warnings are appearing in the northeast, and America is dealing with the hottest weather on record, it is easy to see that something is going on. A recent survey by Yale and George Mason universities indicates that the vast majority of Americans agrees that climate change is making natural disasters and extreme weather events worse.
As American consumers wake up to the real issues of climate change that means corporate activities that impact climate change are going to be taking center stage – for better or worse. This is not anything new; corporations make shifts to their products all the time in order to please consumers. From not using CFCs to Styrofoam to recycling paper and plastic, brands are always changing.
As climate change becomes an American reality, American’s are going to want to know what corporations are contributing negatively to climate change and what corporations are taking steps to limit that negative impact. Social media helps spread this message as well as to help people to connect and share their own American experiences with climate change. Social media sites like 350.org have launched global “Connect the Dots” campaigns to motivate users to document and share images and stories about local climate change impacts.
As we have touched on before, the odds of your local weather person saying the term “climate change” or “global warming” during a broadcast is slim. News channels are owned by corporations and corporations tend to take a more conservative stance on the issue of climate change. But maybe not for long. The Yale/George Mason survey indicated that 58% of Americans want to hear more from their TV weather forecaster about climate change. In contrast it is estimated that there has been a 72-90% drop in climate change coverage across evening and Sunday news programs between 2009 and 2011.
Thanks to modern technology and social media American’s can find the answers to their questions in other places rather than the six o’clock news. A recent CNN interview with Bill Nye the Science Guy that makes the connection between increased wildfires and climate change has a racked up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
American’s are opening their eyes to climate change. As the attitude of the consumers change so must the attitude of the corporations. Consumers do drive the market and in a tough economic environment corporations are looking to maintain consumer loyalty. Even it that means breaking with conservative views and accepting reality.