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admin | reflection of the past meaning | 05.03.2015
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The stumbling blocks that some of our Most Innovative Companies have faced on their journeys to success and what they learned along the way. If everyone got personal, practical, and political, then they just might have a big effect.
When Holthaus and a group of scientists showed up in a Reddit AMA about the article, two questions stood out.
We are currently passing, or have already passed, points in the climate system that have locked in essentially irreversible change on timescales of hundreds of years. And while it's obvious that systemic change is necessary, individuals can also make a difference.
Even if you think you're already doing a lot, you might be missing the biggest part of your own carbon footprint. Beyond finding a leverage point at home, you can also consider what influence you might have at work, your kids' school, or elsewhere in your community.
Despite the slowly declining popularity of the car, almost 9 in 10 Americans still drive to work. The best solution: Ditching the car completely for the train, bus, walking, or one of the many new electric bikes on the market. A recent study done for the Food Research International Journal shows that climate change not only affects food security but it also links to food safety concerns.
The article concluded that it is important to adapt our food safety standards to climate change, each country will have different ways of doing this.
Polls relating to publicly controversial scientific issues often trigger a great wailing and gnashing of teeth from science advocates.
That shouldn’t come as a shock, especially given the well-known political or religious divides apparent for climate change and evolution. A key feature of Kahan's work, though, comes when he measures general science literacy or propensity for analytical thinking. All this means that when people respond to surveys asking whether they think Earth’s climate has warmed, for example, their answers tell you more about their cultural identity than their factual knowledge. Of course, general science knowledge (like knowing that electrons are smaller than atoms or that antibiotics don’t kill viruses) is different from climate science knowledge. Whereas questions about whether one believes anthropogenic climate change to be a real threat produced highly polarized responses, there was no significant difference on the rephrased questions.
There was a strong correlation, though, between scores on the general science literacy test and this climate science literacy test. In addition, asking what scientists "believe" is different from asking what the evidence indicates—the latter would demonstrate real familiarity with the science. These issues, however, don't change the fact that those who scored highest also scored highest on the general science literacy test. What's more difficult to understand is the difference between these results and studies that ask people whether they think there is a scientific consensus about climate change.
It’s unclear what to make of that, Kahan told Ars, but it gets him wondering about the responses people have given in past studies. On the other hand—and Kahan thinks this is more likely—these could simply be coming across as completely different questions in people's minds. Still, this study offers a reminder that many people have heard (or can guess, at least) a lot about what the science has to say. A recent campaign has focused on communicating the strong consensus among climate scientists, a pithy distillation meant to help bring an end to the public debate.
Ars looks at the making of "On the Brink of Famine," a virtual reality documentary filmed in South Sudan. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Conde Nast.
Animals, such as polar bears, that live in Arctic regions may become extinct as they lose habitat.


Over millions of years, the Earth has experienced warm, wet periods, as well as cold Ice Ages. There are many more points in the system that we've yet to cross, however, which is where the call to individual action comes in.
Half of American emissions come from residential energy use, for example, and even tiny tweaks at home could have a large impact. Here's a short list of what you can personally do to fight climate change, from the personal to the political. Or maybe you travel so much you've racked up tens of thousands of frequent flier miles. Saul Griffith, an engineer, meticulously calculated every part of his footprint—from the underwear he bought to the carbon emissions of wars his tax dollars supported.
A few people, like Holthaus, decide to take the radical step of never getting in a plane again. For those who can't give up a car, the next best choice is buying a new Tesla or Leaf. But research shows that meat is one of biggest contributors to climate change, accounting for around 15% of global emissions. Many experts argue that passing a carbon tax would be the best approach to quickly cutting emissions. The researchers from Ghent University and Wageningen University have discovered a relationship between food contamination in fruits and vegetables and long-term changes in rainfall and temperature. They provided statistical analyses and field research that showed the link between contamination in fruits and vegetables and variables in climate like rainfall and temperature.
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When large proportions of a population seem poorly informed about evolution, climate change, or genetically modified foods, the usual response is to bemoan the state of science literacy. Ars has previously covered Yale Professor Dan Kahan’s research into what he calls “cultural cognition,” and the idea goes like this: public opinion on these topics is fundamentally tied to cultural identities rather than assessment of scientific evidence.
Rather than ameliorating differences on scientific issues, these properties exacerbate them. Those who should be best equipped to have a handle on the science are the most divided along party lines. To put that another way, general science knowledge is a very poor predictor of whether people think the Earth has warmed, but political party affiliation is a pretty good one. Kahan set out to design a set of test questions that would actually dig in to the knowledge people possess, rather than how they felt about the public debate. The average person who believes that humans are responsible for climate change answered half of the questions correctly—and so did the average person who believes humans have had no effect, or that the globe hasn't even warmed. People were generally much less likely to recognize false statements about things that are not risks—they tend to think the link between climate change and skin cancer is real. That's a bar that few of us can meet on multiple subjects, though, and it isn't how most people will get their information about climate change. Those who believe humans are not responsible for global warming greatly underestimated the degree of scientific agreement that humans are, in fact, responsible. It could be that there’s some degree of compartmentalization going on, with people answering differently depending on whether they’re thinking about the public controversy or the textbook details. For some reason, the questions in this latest study successfully ask people what they’ve heard about the scientific consensus, whereas the previous questions failed to do so.
Kahan says this survey was far from a perfect “climate science literacy” test, but it shows that such a test is, in fact, possible—if you ask the questions in the right way.
Kahan thinks that his work and others like it show that people pretty much know about that already and that repetition won’t make any difference. Great panels of glass trap heat from the sun and moisture to create a warm, cozy place for plants to grow.
Carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor in the atmosphere create a blanket around the Earth that traps warmth from the Sun. When we cut down trees or use gasoline and other fossil fuels, we release carbon dioxide and other gases.


Burning the forests releases more carbon dioxide into the air, causing more damage to the atmosphere.
Take the FREE & fun all about Climate Change quiz and download FREE Climate Change worksheet for kids. Others, like Effective Altruism guru William MacAskill, buy carbon offsets; after evaluating more than 100 options for effectiveness, MacAskill recommends one called Cool Earth). When Dietz, Stern, and their fellow researchers evaluated where most people could have the most impact, one of the biggest answers was changing the commute. Buying a new EV is an example of how much more difference a single action can make than hundreds of less effective ones.
In particular, beef, which produces around 11 times the emissions of something like rice or potatoes.
This means there will be a higher concentration of dangerous bacteria thriving in fruits and vegetables. It can seem obvious that many people don’t understand the science of evolution, for example—or the scientific method, generally—and that opinions would change if only we could educate them. In other words, rather than evaluate the science, people form opinions based on what they think people with a similar background believe.
It seems that people more familiar with science are better at coming up with explanations to defend whatever conclusions their cultural group has reached.
That suggests that many people were responding based on general ideas about climate scientists thinking climate change is bad rather than actual knowledge about each detail. However, these same people were apparently perfectly willing to agree that "climate scientists believe" there will be coastal flooding as a result of anthropogenic warming, for example, which seems to imply a scientific consensus.
Perhaps saying that scientists are divided on the issue is another way of saying you don’t believe it. Some of us might like to see people know more about the science, but Kahan’s work argues that a lack of knowledge isn’t what makes climate change contentious. Greenhouse owners must run fans and open vents to keep the greenhouses from getting too warm on hot days.
This number seems pretty small until you consider that the planet warmed only 7 degrees in the previous 12,000 years.
But he realized that his carbon footprint was actually worse than the average American's because he had to fly so much for work.
When the researchers added up all of the easy changes drivers could make with their existing car, it added up to nearly 18% of a home's energy use. You can also plug your gadgets into a device that automatically calculates how much power you're using, and offsets that with solar energy.
Some have suggested that giving up meat might even have more impact than giving up a car (depending on how much you drive and your love of hamburgers, of course). The bacteria may be eradicated by sunlight, but exposure is uncertain because of erratic weather. The goal was to provide as many tempting but wrong options for people on either side of the ideological divide. But even cutting back on meat, rather than going completely vegetarian, makes a difference.
When a volcano erupts, the ashes from the explosion can block out the Sun’s rays, causing cooler weather for many years. These fuels contain carbon and when they’re burned, the carbon is released into the air as carbon dioxide.



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