As we gear up for the 2017 Buffalo Humanities Festival, we’ve been thinking a lot about why the topic of “Environments” carries with it such an immediate and vehement reaction. The debate over global warming is exasperating to many people who, in light of the evidence that our climate is indeed changing, wonder why we are still struggling to come to a consensus over scientific facts.

The United States of Anxiety, a podcast produced by WNYC Studios tackled the history of climate change denial in their second episode this past May. The Birth of Climate Denial explores the beginnings of climate change awareness in the 1980’s, when NASA climatologist, James Hansen, presented the issue to Congress.

Something has changed between the initial bi-partisan acceptance of climate change and the moment we find ourselves in now. This episode by the United States of Anxiety presents a compelling explanation of the social and cultural factors that contributed to the development of climate change denial.

image above: UN Photo. April 30, 1992. The environmental group Greenpeace protesting against the Government of the United States for the reluctance to accept goals to reduce green-house gases.