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Stanford sociologist attempts to explain puzzling lack of grassroots climate change activism in U.S.

Photo of grassroots climate change.
Image credit: Ben Goode / Getty Images
Jun 15 2017

Sociologist Doug McAdam examined 40 years of research and theory on social movements in an attempt to determine why a sustained grassroots movement on climate change has not developed in the United States.

Numerous public opinion polls show that Americans believe climate change is a major problem that needs to be dealt with. Yet, despite these beliefs, an effective, sustained grassroots movement to influence climate change policy has not developed in the United States.

Why?

Stanford sociology Professor Doug McAdam tackles this puzzle in a recent article appearing in the Annual Review of Political Science. He argues, among other things, that while there is significant support from Americans for action on climate change, the issue is still not seen as an immediate threat by many. Therefore, it does not elicit the powerful responses necessary for Americans to mobilize.

Continue reading the Stanford News interview with Doug McAdam about his research.