If you’re talking about how did the public’s awareness of global warming progress, it took a while. Hansen was researching and publishing papers in the 70s and early 80s but he didn’t really get much attention outside academic circles until 1988 when he testified in front of Congress about his findings. Even then, there wasn’t too much coverage although by 1990, 90% of Americans surveyed said that they had heard the term “global warming” and understood what it meant. Back then global warming might have surfaced in the media but it wasn’t certainly in it everyday and it wasn’t cast as a giant destructor. During the 80s and 90s, the corporations and governments of the world really didn’t want to have to confront that global warming could exist because reacting to it responsibly would mean having to change a lot of things which would mean having to spend money. Since there was less research at the time, it was easier for lobbyists, businessmen and politicians to push global warming to the side and convince the media to do the same. The media, which has the advantage of deciding what is and what isn’t news, by choosing to feature or ignore items, focused on other things: the Clinton sex scandal is the predominant news story that I remember seeing growing up as a kid. In the early 2000s it was terrorism. Sometime in the mid 2000s with the occurrence of Hurricane Katrina, and a lagging economy, and more scientists putting forth findings that supported climate change, it became profitable to make climate change a public issue. Both news media and popular media adapted the idea (The Day after Tomorrow, Wally, Avatar, Al Gore) and in some cases have made it a very scary thing. Businesses are now “going green” and putting pressure on governments when there are reports that some of the same businesses used to bribe government officials, media, and scientists to suppress dialogue and action concerning climate change.
It is extremely important for us to take care of our earth, but for some parties the world revolves around making money. Though climate change is a super important issue, it has also been marketed and used for profit.
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