A disconnect exists between the scientific knowledge of global climate change, arguably the most important issue of our time, and the publics’ interpretations and acceptance of that knowledge. Without broad-based public support for mitigation policies and adaption strategies, irreversible climate “tipping points” could be breached, according to some of the most prominent climate scientists, over the course of the next few decades. This study examines why the preponderance of scientific evidence surrounding climate change has not produced a sea change in public perceptions of the climate change problem consistent with the dire projections of climate science. This cognitive disjuncture is explored through a case study carried out in a suburban neighborhood in Tampa, Florida, a coastal region identified as highly threatened by climate change. Forty-six semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted to understand perceptions related to climate change, suburban consumption, and environmental conservation. The interviews compiled information pertaining to personal knowledge and representations of socio-ecological relationships. Participant relationships or connections to the natural world in general, and climate change in particular, are produced by the arrangements and processes of capital accumulation as experienced in everyday practices. This study finds suburban residents are disconnected from the consequences of their actions in relation to climate change. It also finds their views highly influenced by institutional discourses. Methods to overcome socially constructed barriers to climate change are explored.
Metzger, Christopher Noel
"Translations of Climate Change: Perspectives from a Florida Suburb,"
Suburban Sustainability: Vol. 3
, Article 1.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/subsust/vol3/iss1/1