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s1 {font-kerning: none}Reading Analysis 1 Source:Thesis: America is the only country which refuses to accept the idea of climate change, and this is as a result of portrayals of climate change in American politics, media, and culture.Questions:In what ways does American politics influence the debate on climate change?Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, many Americans have been refusing to accept the realities of the world’s changing climate. A significant factor in the fight against climate change science is the social structure of American politics, specifically the system of capitalism. The American political system revolves around the idea of the “American Dream”, which emphasizes the importance of material wealth as a way of measuring success in society. As a result of this, materialism and an almost obsession with profit has emerged as a dominant belief system in American businesses. The article outlines the influence of this on politicians, who are therefore hesitant to spend money on such a “distant threat” that may not require an immediate response.

As described in the textbook, the government is often biased against environmental regulations as a result of their “cozy relationship with larger polluters: corporations”(92). This factors in to the denial of climate change owing to the fact that as a result of environmental regulations, there is a possibility that many people who have jobs in the fossil fuel industry, specifically coal and oil businesses, may lose their jobs. Additionally, the fossil fuel companies will decrease significantly in value, which further discourages government action against climate change, in addition to the negative effect a decreasing fossil fuel industry would have on the U.S. economy. In the documentary, “War on the EPA”, the influence of large corporations on the government’s environmental policies is demonstrated through campaign donations and disguising profit concerns as concerns for job losses.

 How does the media play a role in how people react to the idea of climate change?In the article, Ungar argues that the media industry plays a prominent role in shaping society’s reactions to climate change science. The article suggests that the timing of when the media presents a crisis significantly impacts the attention the issue receives. Furthermore, it is argued that agenda-setting, or the idea that “media coverage of an issue is a major determinant of public awareness”, contributes to how Americans react to climate change. The more often that medias present the environmental dangers of climate change, it increases fear and opposition to environmental hazards.

However, a way to counteract the negative reaction and denial of global warming created by over-publicizing the issue would be for the media to encourage “green” ideology to become more mainstream.How does American culture play a role in forming the country’s ideas about climate change?Owing to the fact that climate change is not perceived as an immediate threat, described in the article as a “future-oriented” issue, people are not willing to change their lifestyles to adapt to the changing environment. Ungar argues that it is evident in our culture that the majority of people are “unwilling to sacrifice much for future generations”.

This is a result of people being so comfortable in their own norms and values that they react negatively to the idea of anything different. This further relates to the issue of environmental classism which is discussed in the textbook, which outlines the ways in which the less economically advantaged are more likely to be victims of environmental dangers. It is an aspect of American society to victimize poor people and racial minorities, who suffer the most as a result of climate change. People of a lower socioeconomic status are more likely to have their jobs eliminated, neighborhoods abandoned, and through regressive taxes are often required to pay more for environmental cleanups. In contrast, when environmental dangers begin to effect more affluent areas, people have more means to change their lifestyle, whether it be to adapt more environmentally-friendly habits, or to relocate to less polluted areas. 

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