Goshen College is home to progressive and forward thinkers in regard to the divisive issue known as climate change. What is little known, however, is the sentiment held by the minority of students who aren’t convinced of climate change. Not everyone shares the same belief that climate change is real and man-made, and the ones who don’t share the common belief often feel cornered.
A Goshen College climate questioner feels that they would be the subject ridicule should they talk openly about their true beliefs. “Sometimes I feel like people would take me less seriously,” said the self-described “closeted climate denier.” “Since coming to school here, I’ve known I’m the one of the only ones here who believes this way.”
The percentage of people who believe climate change is happening has been growing. In 2013, 62 percent of Americans believed climate change is happening while in 2019, the number has grown to nearly 80 percent (Gustafson, Bergquist, Leiserowitz, Maibach, 2019). Despite this, it still remains to be a dividing issue across political party lines. The percentage of people who believe that climate change is a top priority is at just over 75 percent Democrat and just under 25 percent Republican. And the partisan gap is continuing to grow (Pew Research Center, 2020).
The gap is also appearing to grow due to the position the current administration holds, and people who hold the same position are echoing louder than in the past. This makes the issue more partisan.
“If climate change is happening, it is due to the natural cycle of our planet. It isn’t man-made,” they said. “I don’t think anything unnatural is happening.”
With the issue of climate change looming over our heads, people are starting to wake up to the issue, or they are doubling down on their stance. “I won’t be bullied into changing my beliefs. Just because the school has its position and seemingly everyone else blindly goes with it, I won’t be peer pressured into thinking a certain way.”
“Whether or not climate change is man-made or not, doesn’t matter,” the climate denier said. “The fact of the matter is that we shouldn’t let peer pressure dictate our thoughts.”
“Living in a place where you feel surrounded by people who won’t take you seriously is frustrating,” they said. “My views are just as valid as anyone else’s.”
In the end, people are unwavering in their views. Believers and non-believers alike, there isn’t much that can make someone who has grown up and lived their whole life thinking one way change their thoughts. “If climate change is real, it isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Everything has been blown out of proportion.”