For years, microbiologist and immunologist Kasra Hassani rejected climate change science.

In his eyes, climate change was hypothetical … and at most, due simply to natural causes. He felt the media should focus instead on more pressing human problems, like poverty and global conflict. He even began to wonder if it might be a hoax, an intentional effort to distract the public.


But when a friend challenged his views, Hassani made a list of his objections and then spent months reading, comparing scientific data, and finally debunking his own arguments. One thing he realized in the process was that, for him, denial was the easier answer.

Hassani: “Once you accept something, then you have to accept the consequences, and you kind of feel morally inclined that you have to do something about it.”

Hassani learned how climate change is caused by human activities, and he also found an answer to his prior concern that addressing climate change would force him to choose between helping the environment or people. He realized that we can do both at the same time.

Hassani: “Reading up on sustainability and the possible solutions that we could have that would be good for the people and the environment was one of the ways that helped me move towards accepting climate change.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
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Confessions of a Former Climate Change Denialist

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Diana Madson

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...