It’s increasingly recognized that while large parts of the of populations of the US (and other Western countries) are aware of climate change and accept that human action contributes to it only little behavioural change can be observed. People continue with their lives as usual although knowing their actions contribute to climate change.
“Although a poll by the Pew Research Center last October found that 67 percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening, a Pew poll in January showed that Americans ranked global warming as 19th on a list of 20 issues for Congress and the president.” (NYT-19 March 2014)
President Obama now has launched the development of a website that is designed to make visible to people the impact of climate change locally, in their citie and neighborhoods. The New York Times reported on this development in its Science Section “Obama Turns to Web to Illustrate the Effects of a Changing Climate” and cites the motivation behind the campaign as “building a political case for the climate rules, both by defusing the opposition and by trying to create an urgent sense among Americans that they are necessary”.
Gail Markle’s recent article “Accounting for the Performance of Environmentally Significant Behavior: The Symbolic Significance of Recycling” published in Symbolic Interaction addresses this very same issue. Markle investigates why people consider recycling as a sufficient action to help the environment although being aware of the impact their consumption habits and life-style have on the environment.
A related campaign to use the Internet to raise awareness for ethics and ethical action has recently been launched by Andrea Prothero, Associate Professor at University College Dublin. The Facebook Group Talk About Ethics was launched a couple of weeks ago and encourages its members to take pictures of themselves stating why ‘talking about ethics’ is important.