A Little Humor May Help With Climate Change Gloom
By Lakshmi Magon
This year, three studies showed that humor is useful for engaging the public about climate change. The studies, published in The Journal of Science Communication, Comedy Studies and Science Communication, added to the growing wave of scientists, entertainers and politicians who agree.
In March 2017, the American Psychological Association published a report defining eco-anxiety as "chronic fear of environmental doom." The report referred to literature that described an increase in depression and anxiety caused by peoples' "inability to feel like they are making a difference in stopping climate change."
With psychological stakes this high, humor may seem inappropriate. But Phil McCordic — a Canadian actor, writer and producer of children's programming and the host of TVOntario's Science Max educational series — thinks it could be a way to access "the attention of a lot of people you wouldn't have otherwise."
"Humor is so useful for children's programming because it grabs attention," says McCordic, who adds he believes this can be applied to adults too.
"Climate-change humor stops people from worrying about their politics and lets them take in the information ... Scientists don't always understand their audience. Getting someone to laugh is half of the work of getting them to understand."
McCordic's views are echoed by researchers such as Christofer Skurka, assistant professor of film and media studies at the Bellisario College of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. His research has shown that humor is a useful tool for making 18- to 24-year-olds more politically engaged in climate change.
Beth Osnes is an associate professor of theater at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her research shows that the creative techniques used in theater are a useful tool for climate-change communication. Osnes says that communicating climate change to young people using humor is "magical."
"Climate change isn't a laughing matter but sometimes you have to laugh at your pain to get to a solution," she said.
Climate Comedy Has Wide-Ranging Applications
The climate-change humor trend isn't isolated to research institutions. Using comedy to tackle climate-change debate is found in mainstream media, including in the comedy of comedian John Oliver and The Late Show host Stephen Colbert.
The Onion, a landmark American satirical media outlet, has headlines that include "Report: If Earth Continues To Warm At Current Rate Moon Will Be Mostly Underwater By 2400" and "Sighing, Resigned Climate Scientists Say To Just Enjoy Next 20 Years As Much As You Can."
"Science should be serious! But it should also be funny, challenging, impressive and a range of other things," says Levy. "I want to make climate change less scary by tapping into that funny side."
Lakshmi Magon is the Dalla Lana Global Journalism Fellow, Science Communicator, at the University of Toronto.
Disclosure statement: Lakshmi Magon does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond her academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.
- FDA Approves First In-Home Test for Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- When Should You Get a COVID-19 or Antibody Test? - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Plans to End Federal Funding for COVID-19 Testing Sites ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Trump Insider Embeds Climate Denial Into Agency Reports ... ›
- Climate Denier Is Named to Leadership Role at NOAA - EcoWatch ›
New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.
Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.
The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.
- Renewable Energy Could Power the World by 2050 - EcoWatch ›
- Net Zero U.S. by 2050? House Dems Unveil Sweeping Climate ... ›
- Delayed Senate Energy Bill Promotes LNG Exports, 'Clean Coal ... ›