Connecting earth and sky: Persuading climate skeptics through analogy
Publication date: April 2018
Source: The Extractive Industries and Society, Volume 5, Issue 2
Author(s): Benjamin J. Gray
Many Oklahomans agree that the disposal of produced water in deep injection wells contributes to the increased rate of seismicity in the state. However, a portion of this same population disagrees that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change. Part of this difference can be explained as an effect of the combination of a particular cultural model of nature and Oklahomans’ relative insulation from the effects of climate change. This article suggests that scientific communication structured around an analogy drawn between the causes of induced seismicity and climate change may be an effective way to invite this population to reconsider their beliefs about climate change and nature. The argument is developed with a discussion of cultural models as examples of analogic thinking and the role of analogies in cognition and learning. Although this is a preliminary framework for communicating with a specific population, a similar approach may also prove useful in communicating with other climate change skeptics.