A University of California at Berkley study, published in the Journal of Psychological Science, showed that conservatives were far more motivated on environmental issues – including climate change – when it was explained with particular language.

“When it comes to climate change, deforestation and toxic waste, the assumption has been that conservative views on these topics are intractable. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that such viewpoints can be changed after all, when the messages about the need to be better stewards of the land are couched in terms of fending off threats to the “purity” and “sanctity” of Earth and our bodies…”

Read the entire article online here.

The study supports the body of work on moral reasoning that shows conservatives consider purity and sanctity one of the “channels” of morality, where this basis for moral decision-making is simply lacking in liberal moral reasoning. According to the lead author of the study, “when individuals view protecting the environment as a moral issue, they are more likely to recycle and support government legislation to curb carbon emissions.” This is more support for the case made by Jonathan Haidt in The Righteous Mind and the central premise of the Asteroids Club – “fending off threats” is a strong foundation for us to build from.

So if liberals want conservatives to see the climate change “asteroid,” perhaps they might want to shake-up their word choice. Beats angry yelling as a strategy hands down.