How Do People Not Believe in Climate Change, and How Can I Become One of Them?

When you live in Colorado, apocalyptic reports about the environment are almost as ubiquitous as economic forecasts about the emerging marijuana industry. Fracking and floods are our bread and butter. The University of Colorado at Boulder produces at least as many articles on the subject of climate change as any other university in the world, and once you contact them as a journalist, press releases about melting glaciers and record-breaking droughts begin to arrive like a doomsday prophet in your inbox each morning.

Surrounded by academics, artists, and anarchists in downtown Denver, it would be easy for me to forget that climate change deniers exist were it not for my conservative family back home in Iowa, who maintain that there’s no definitive evidence of global warming—and that the whole thing is most likely a power grab by greedy liberals. Unlike their positions on gay marriage, war, or poverty, hearing this doesn’t push my partisan buttons. Instead, it soothes me like heroin jazz. Whenever Charles Krauthammer or Sean Hannity laugh about paranoid liberals and their climate-change nonsense on Fox News, I feel no reactionary rage, because deep down I want to believe them. The idea that this is all just a bad dream gives me a maternal euphoria, like the little Irish children being tucked into bed as the Titanic was already half sunk.

Illustration of earth crying