Why, when all evidence points to the growing threats of climate change, is it so difficult to create movement toward addressing it? Why, when we have so much evidence that vaccines reduce illness and death and are extremely safe, do individuals still choose not to vaccinate their children? What if I told you that the scientific evidence does not matter? Over the last few decades, not better education, nor guilt, nor fear has worked to produce change on important environmental and public health issues. In this class, we will explore how values, beliefs, emotions and identity shape how we process information and make decisions. We will explore themes of moral world view, cognitive linguistics and framing, cognitive dissonance, risk perception, empathy, habit changes, and difficult dialoguing through the case studies of climate change and vaccination. Course activities will consist of regular reading, some online research, reflective journaling at home, and engaging in conversation during class. There are no prerequistes, but the class is designed for fourth-year students in environmental majors and pre-health studies. The upper-level environmental majors and minors will be selected from the waitlist first.
Course Attributes: EN S; BU BA; AS SSC; FA SSC; AR SSC