Is Your Environmental Position Moral Or Not?

Mar. 20, 2015 / by Lawrence F. Jacobs

Robb Willer, a New York Times columnist, recently posed the question “why do liberals moralize environmental issues, while conservatives do not?” His February 27, 2015 column, Is the Environment a Moral Cause?, focused on this apparent contradiction: while increasing numbers of Republicans identify global warming as a serious problem, conservatives remain less likely to be morally engaged in the subject, and, therefore, less likely to support action to address it. Willer suggests the contradiction may be explained by conservatives’ reaction to the “moral rhetoric” typically surrounding environmental issues rather than a rejection of the underlying concern of global warming. Apparently, liberals and conservatives respond to different moral cues - he says that liberals respond to “protection from harm” while conservatives respond to “patriotism,” “sanctity.” and “authority”.

Perhaps, one take-away is a reminder to know your audience – environmental advocacy based on righteous indignation may be appealing to some, but if the goal is consensus-building a more nuanced message may be best.

Topics: Climate Change, Environment

Subscribe to Email Updates

Featured Blogger

June Y. Lee

June Y. Lee

Click Here to Read My Latest Blog Post