In a world filled with mutating diseases and dwindling job prospects, Generation X just can’t be bothered to care about climate change.
Or so it would appear according to a new study by the University of Michigan that surveyed 3,000 U.S. Gen Xers – generally those born from 1961 to 1981 – and found that their interest in climate change has declined in recent years.
Sociologist Jon Miller, the study’s author, told the Atlantic that this apparent apathy is partly due to disinformation, the complexity of the issue and the how long it takes for the effects to show.
“I was optimistic because this group of people is more scientifically literate; they’ve grown up in an era of of science and quantitative discussion, unlike their grandparents,” Dr. Miller said.
Not only do fewer of them pay attention to climate change, but an increasing number of Gen Xers just don’t care. In the most recent survey, the fourth in a series, only 16 per cent of those polled said they followed the issue “very closely” or “moderately closely,” a drop from 22 per cent in 2009. And the percentage of those who did “not closely” follow climate change rose from 45 per cent to 51 per cent.
Climate change has become highly politicized and when faced with a polarizing debate over the issue they don’t understand, many just follow party lines, Dr. Miller told the Atlantic. The survey found that feeling “disengaged” about climate change was the dominant feeling among conservatives, liberals and moderates. But not surprisingly, “conservatives were overwhelmingly less concerned about climate change than liberals, with moderates split more or less evenly,” the Atlantic writes.
What is somewhat surprising is that Gen X parents polled cared less about climate change than their childless peers, even though their children would have to deal with it in the future.
Are you concerned about climate change? Do you think an interest in the issue is a generational thing?