Why 'Sharknado 4' matters: Do climate disaster movies hurt the climate cause?
Posted by admin on 29th July 2016

Given that 2016 is expected to be the hottest year on record, with several months that not only surpassed old heat records but did so by increasingly large margins, it stands to reason climate change should be an issue we as a nation are rushing to address. But we’re not, exactly. Instead, climate scientists are subject to political attacks and lawsuits, and debate over whether climate change even exists roils the United States Senate. A reasonable person could be left wondering how the hell we got here.

Social scientists have made great strides in determining what factors influence climate denier attitudes and what kinds of messages have the potential to combat denial. Indeed, a burgeoning movement of academics and communicators are taking on the problem of climate denial with gusto, working nonstop to produce empirically based strategies for getting the message out to the public.

Despite these efforts, researchers have paid less attention to how we’re talking about climate change in a larger cultural sense.

Enter “Sharknado.” On July 31, the fourth installment of the “Sharknado” film series airs on SyFy. The low-budget films are a surprise smash hit, breaking records in 2013 with the original “Sharknado.” It’s led to a series of movies and a variety of media spin-offs, including a video game and companion book.