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Environment Magazine September/October 2008


November-December 2017

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Climate Silence, Moral Disengagement, and Self-Efficacy: How Albert Bandura's Theories Inform Our Climate-Change Predicament

More Americans are becoming concerned about climate change.1 Yet many Americans rarely talk about it or hear others mention it, in the media or in everyday conversations. This leads to a “climate spiral of silence,” where “even people who care about the issue shy away from discussing it because they so infrequently hear other people talking about it—reinforcing the spiral.”2 Even when Americans talk about climate change, they often fail to discuss it in depth, or with complete candor.

Pope Francis's 2015 encyclical, Laudato si': On Care for Our Common Home, with its urgent moral arguments for addressing climate change, led to a small increase in recognizing moral implications.3 Even so, most Americans failed to see climate change as a moral issue, and the increase in moral awareness receded after the pope's U.S. visit.4


Seth Heald received an MS in energy policy and climate from Johns Hopkins University in May 2017.

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