Are Climate Marches Effective? IU Researchers Say, In Some Ways, Yes

Sep 19, 2019

Kids at a youth climate march at the Indiana Statehouse in March.
Credit Steve Burns/WTIU/FILE PHOTO

Young people in Indiana and across the globe will rally for action against climate change on Friday. But how effective are things like marches and protests?

Research from Indiana University shows they may change people’s attitudes about the climate movement. 

IU environmental communications scientist Nathan Geiger was part of a team that surveyed people who watched the March for Science and the People’s Climate March.

He says before the marches, bystanders were skeptical that people could come together to work on big problems like climate change.

“After the marches we found that in particular it was actually, surprisingly, people consuming conservative media that had become less pessimistic after the marches,” Geiger says.

Geiger says bystanders also viewed people participating in the march more favorably afterward.

“Which suggests the potential that these marches might help to defuse a potential backlash that could arise the next time that climate policy or climate action is being considered,” he says.

Young people will gather for the strike in front of the Indiana Statehouse, as well as in Muncie, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, New Castle, at Indiana University, Butler, and Purdue.

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.