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Before and after The Day After Tomorrow: A U.S. study of climate change risk perception.

Leiserowitz, A. (2004). Before and after The Day After Tomorrow: A U.S. study of climate change risk perception. Environment, 46(9), 22-37.

The Day After Tomorrow had a significant impact on the climate change risk perceptions, conceptual models, behavioral intentions, policy priorities, and even voting intentions of moviegoers. The film led moviegoers to have higher levels of concern and worry about global warming, to estimate various impacts on the United States as more likely, and to shift their conceptual understanding of the climate system toward a threshold model. Further, the movie encouraged watchers to engage in personal, political, and social action to address climate change and to elevate global warming as a national priority. Finally, the movie even appears to have influenced voter preferences. These results demonstrate that the representation of environmental risks in popular culture can influence public attitudes and behaviors.

Critically, however, this influence was limited by the level of national exposure. Surveys conducted immediately before The Day After Tomorrow was released and three weekends afterward without strong and concerted leadership from the local to international levels, it may take a series of real-world extreme events linked to climate change to permanently raise the salience and priority of global warming among the mass media and the broader U.S. public.