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How Parenthood Affects Climate Change Skeptics [Podcast]

February 21, 2019

red sunglasses with elephants. Groovy sunglasses with wind turbines and trees, Blue sunglasses with donkeys. There is about a 40-percentage point gap between Democrats and Republicans in their concern for climate change, according to Megan Mullin, an associate professor of environmental politics at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University,

Emily Pechar, a PhD candidate at Duke, suggests a solution for working around these deep-seated partisan beliefs. In her research, Pechar has found that when Republican parents are thinking about their parental identity rather than their partisan identity, they are more likely to be concerned about climate change.

For former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis, thinking about the issue in the context of being a parent rather than being a Republican was a significant factor in changing his mind about climate change. In fact, reframing the issue in this way led Inglis to not only do a 180 flip on climate change, but also found an organization that encourages Republicans to take the lead on climate change solutions.

Listen to the episode:


This is the first episode of a four-part series series looking at policy ideas for understanding and dealing with a changing climate.

Subscribe to the Ways & Means podcast.

Read a transcript of this episode.

Music: Theme music by David Schulman. “One Little Triumph,” “Crumbling Dock” and “Greylock” by Blue Dot Sessions. “Hard Boiled,” “Man Down” and “Thief in the Night” by Kevin MacLeod / Both licensed under Creative Commons attribution.

Image: Melissa Carrico. Additional narration: Joel Luther.