When It Comes to Climate Change, How Much Do People Know?
Professor Haein Yim  |   
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승인 2011.06.06  17:32:42
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True or False?  By now, your average person is probably tired of the word “climate change” and all the discussions, debates, conferences, and even movies on the subject.  Though a learned reader may instinctively answer “true,” the correct answer is “false,” considering how most average people at this moment don’t even know what climate change is.

Any debate on climate change is only one of the many discussions, debates, conferences, and movies on the topic.  Though they may seem redundant, they are necessary, considering how temperatures are rising, rivers evaporating, and glaciers melting around the world today, at this very moment.  But in the status quo, there is a very shocking and tragic unawareness by most people about some of the most basic facts on climate change.  This lack of awareness by ordinary people is caused by lack of education and media coverage.  The few campaigns which have been attempted to solve this problem of ignorance have not provided enough information to enough people.

A lack of motivation is the other problem.  Most people not only have no idea how much difference they can make with small actions, but also simply don’t care.  Your average citizen is not motivated strongly to carry out any actions for the environment, no matter how small those actions are, and even if they are aware of them.  In the status quo, government policies and actions are not giving anyone enough incentives to help save the environment.  There is a need not only for greater awareness, but for new ways to tackle the public, to get inside their minds and make a lasting impact.

Several actors should be responsible for raising awareness concerning climate change.  They include individuals as well as groups-the governments of the world, and environment-related NGOs-Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Worldwatch Institute, and Friends of the Earth.  A united effort by all the governments of the groups will be necessary.  Fortunately for Korea, my own country, President Lee Myung-Bak’s administration is showing a new, unprecedented level of interest in the development of a Greener nation.  The government has certain abilities that most other groups do not.  Governments can produce commercials, ads, newspaper articles, and education programs on climate change to a wide public.  It can broadcast commercials on national TV, publish articles in widely read newspapers, and implement education policies in schools throughout the country.  Several non-government organizations can conduct large-scale, widely recognized campaigns on climate change and publish editorials in major newspapers on the issue.  Individuals, however, will be the most important players.  Once the government and NGOs provide knowledge, it is up to those who received it to take action.

Raising awareness about global warming amongst many citizens is the best solution for climate change.  Serious climate change was caused by many people, and so must be alleviated through a mass effort.  Currently, hardly any people seem to be interested in this issue, but that small percent must be raised.  With more people made aware and active, so much more can be done than when only a few committed but too greatly strained people were committed to the mission of a Greener earth.  Rather than allowing those few people to struggle by themselves, we must now distribute the responsibility amongst many people-to a large majority of the population.  Up until now, the simple step of giving these people the knowledge they need has not been taken on a mass scale.  Once that step has been taken, the other parts of the whole solution will fall into place.

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