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Study says conservatives respond to different kind of environmental messaging

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Conservatives and liberals share the same globe, but vastly different viewpoints on conservation. Image courtesy NASA.

Can we bridge the ideological divide on crucial conservation issues?

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — It’s astounding that environmental issues have become so politically polarized, with liberals generally favoring stronger environmental protection, while conservatives tend to reject efforts to preserve natural resources as government over-reach. Recent debates about global warming and the EPA’s ability to control greenhouse gases are a case in point.

It doesn’t really make sense. Toxic heavy metals in water, air pollution and the loss of biodiversity affect everyone equally and just by the nature of their fundamental philosophy, one would think that conservatives would want to conserve natural resources and the environment.

But new research from psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, suggest that conservative view on issues like deforestation and toxic waste may not be as intractable as assumed. It appears those viewpoints can be changed when the messaging about environmental stewardship are shifted to focus on the concepts of  of fending off threats to the “purity” and “sanctity” of Earth and our bodies. Continue reading

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