Father and son

Children’s beliefs are often shaped by their parents. But sometimes, young people influence the adults in their lives.

Lance Lawson is a recent high school graduate from Florida. For a long time, he believed climate change was a hoax because that’s what his stepdad said.

But then a friend challenged him to read the research.

“I naturally started Googling something along the lines of ‘proof climate change isn’t real’ et cetera, et cetera,” he says. “And I found that the deeper I dug, the harder it became to find something that was credible.”

He realized that nearly all climate scientists are convinced that global warming is real and human-caused. As his views evolved, he discussed it with his stepdad.

“I’ve always enjoyed a very open political discourse with my dad,” he says. “And ultimately, at the end of the day … he ended up changing his mind.”

What happened is not unusual. A recent study found that parents whose kids talk to them about climate change often become more concerned about it, especially fathers and conservatives.

Lawson says that today, he and his dad continue to talk about climate change with each other and others.

“I truly believe,” he says, “that one person convinces another person. That person convinces two people, and it has a ripple effect, and I think that’s very important.”

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Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Communicating Climate, Youth