Social media is both a boon and a bane to both sides of the climate change discussion. For its proponents, social media offers an invaluable tool that allows them to reach massive audiences with greater ease than ever before; conversely, the same opportunities are afforded to the most vehement climate deniers. As we saw throughout the previous election cycle, the rise of “fake news” has inserted a new fold into the struggle for truth on the climate. Now more than ever, any talking head can espouse whatever they’d like and pass it off as fact with little push back. The issue with social media, and the internet as a whole, is the immediacy of information and ease of access creates this vacuum where confirmation biases can flourish. A person can search for information that suits their overall worldview or agenda, and once they find that information, they often take it as indelible truth. This is true on both sides of the situation.
The benefit outweighs the cost — for now. This is especially true with the topic of climate change, where the science and general public consensus falls heavily on the side of the proponents of climate change and its inevitable consequences. Even with the current administration gutting environmental agencies with unprecedented voracity, the American people are standing upright and resisting the denial. Social media is an important part of this fight. The euphemism “knowledge is power” is more than just a catchy caption or slogan; knowledge breeds good, informed decisions. Now, more than ever, the world needs informed, practical decision making from its diplomatic leaders to combat climate change. Legislation and diplomatic progress comes generally when pressure is applied — either public pressure or pressure from private interests. On the subject of climate change, the private institutions lobbying for the ability to continue their destructive practices have had the majority of the legislative power. As the American people, and humanity in general become more aware and astute (with the help of social media), their power seems to be dwindling, if slowly and slightly.