Researchers in Michigan are concerned with the lack of concern for climate change
Generation X—those born between 1961 and 1981, aged 32 to 52—are in the midst of their adult life, and what seems to be at the top of their collective mind are concerns for things like paying for homes and raising children. Despite the fact that many Gen Xers will be thinking about their children’s futures, long-term, global issues such as climate change don’t seem to be on their radar.
According to a new report from the University of Michigan, "most Generation Xers are surprisingly disengaged, dismissive or doubtful about whether global climate change is happening and they don't spend much time worrying about it," said Jon D. Miller, author of "The Generation X Report."
Of the 4,000 respondents to the longitudinal study, only 5 percent said they were alarmed about climate change and 18 percent said they were concerned about it. Sixty-six percent said they weren’t sure if global warming is happening and 10 percent said that they don’t believe global warming is occurring.
Miller originally hypothesized that parents within the study would show more concern for climate change than non-parents—given that the global issue is one that is posed to affect future generations. Instead, the results showed that Generation X adults without children showed slightly more concern for climate change than those with children.
Amongst Gen Xers, education and scientific knowledge were better predictors for concern for climate change, with those with higher education to be more concerned. Partisan affiliations were the greatest predictor, as half of respondents who were Democrats reported alarm or concern compared to zero percent of conservative Republicans.
Climate change refers to alteration of long-term weather patterns. While climate change is nothing new to our planet, the current shift in global climate marks the first time that it has been a consequence of human behavior.
What’s the consensus?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released several large-scale reports on climate change—the last one included 2,500 expert reviewers, 800 contributing authors, and 450 lead authors from more than 130 countries. While there is consensus within the international scientific community that climate change is of real global concern, some still deny this. Individuals who deny climate change is an issue, however, have largely been discredited within the scientific community.
What’s at stake?
Climate change is complex and doesn’t affect all regions in the same way. Some regions may see higher temperatures while others may see cooler temperatures. Change in climate could also cause flooding, drought, intense heat, and violent storms around various parts of the globe. It is already having an effect on ecosystems, economies, and communities around the world.
Read more on climate change