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Faculty Sponsor

Kim Lloyd

Department/Program

Sociology

Abstract

This research focuses on the factors that influence students’ views on anthropogenic, or human-induced, climate change. In this study, I hypothesize that the source that the primarily source that students receive their news will impact their views toward climate change. Based upon previous literature and the study of media influence over society, as well as the polarization between various news networks and online news sources, it can be argued that those who receive information primarily via conservative sources will be more likely to deny or minimize climate change. My second hypothesis poses that students’ religious affiliation will influence beliefs regarding climate change. Previous research suggests that many religions, such as Evangelical Christians, deny the anthropogenic influence over nature and attribute natural phenomena to God’s will, while other Religions, such as Buddhism, embody a connection with the earth thus garnering further recognition of climate change and its human origins. To test these two hypotheses, I gather data from 718 IPFW undergraduate students during the spring semester of 2018. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were conducted to determine if a relationship exists between the variables. The results suggest that the primary media outlets from which news is received have an impact on students’ views regarding climate change. Findings reveal that students who acquire news from liberal-leaning networks have a higher level of belief in climate change. In the contrast, those that receive news via conservative sources are more skeptical of human-induced climate change. Results also indicate that religious affiliation is less of a predictor of views on human-induced climate change, yet still is a significant predictor. The results of this study support the findings of previous research, which show that both media and religion are signifsignificant predictors of people’s perceptions of human impact on the environment.

Disciplines

Sociology

Factors that Influence Individual’s Views on Human-Induced Climate Change

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