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Want to Convince a Conservative That Climate Change Is Real? First Teach Their Children.

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“High levels of parental trust in their children often leads to parents being willing to listen to or accept their child’s views on complex topics.”

Many American conservatives, including the president, still refuse to acknowledge the frightening reality of climate change. How can scientists convince them?

New research provides a close-to-home answer: by teaching their kids.

A new study reports that teaching middle school students about climate change greatly increased concern about the topic among their parents. This effect was far more pronounced for parents who identified themselves as politically conservative.

“Children are great educators,” co-author Kathryn Stevenson of North Carolina State University said in announcing the findings. “They seem to help people critically consider ways in which being concerned about climate change may be in line with their values.”

The study, described in the journal Nature Climate Change, was conducted in coastal North Carolina. It began with 238 middle school students and 292 of their parents taking a survey designed to measure their level of concern about climate change.

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