Four decades ago, the environment emerged as a public and political cause in response to growing awareness of the threats posed by air and water pollution and unabated population growth. In recent years, it has stormed back into the public consciousness—this time fueled largely by worldwide scientific consensus on the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change; concern over the depletion of natural resources and nonrenewable energy sources; and growing recognition that the choices we make today will determine the quality of life for those generations yet to come.
Yet, as biologist Brian Helmuth writes in Miller-McCune magazine, for some people, “the idea of global climate change seems like a far-away concept, an idea dreamt up by scientists in their laboratories. That some still talk about ‘belief’ — a matter of faith more so than facts — in findings that have long been accepted by the scientific community speaks volumes about the general public’s understanding and acceptance of global climate change”.
Helmuth goes on to explain how studying changes in the animals and plants around us can help scientists predict the effects of climate change, and makes the point that only by working collaboratively, with policymakers, scientists, the business community, can we plan for a future we can all live with.