It’s tough to sort through all the reports and sound bytes concerning climate change. Therefore, anyone who wants to make specific choices related to this issue needs objective facts and data to fall back on when emotional rhetoric makes everyone more overwhelmed and frustrated.

There’s so much wisdom being overlooked in this discussion. For example, one young leader whom I think you’ll hear a lot more about in 2019 is U.S. Rep-Elect Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota. Follow her on Twitter, where you’ll be enriched by Ilhan’s perspective on how climate change must be “seen through an intersectional lens:”

The more our environment deteriorates, Ilhan notes, the bigger the negative impact on the poor, people of color, refugees, and those suffering from health problems. And these intersecting issues are just a tiny sample of what will worsen through failure to tackle climate challenge.

An even bigger picture, as Omar tweeted in late December 2018, is that “we make a mistake when we think of climate change as one of many political issues. It isn’t. It’s the whole thing. Our planet is our only home. If we don’t limit further harm, alter our behavior and develop resilience as the climate changes, we doom our species”.

What realities do we need to embrace and what steps must we take?

Here’s five reasons why I think Americans in particular aren’t fully informed on the facts concerning climate change. Thankfully, none of them are that difficult to overcome:

  1. We’re too busy and distracted to stop and learn the specifics on the science supporting climate change.
  2. Our busyness perpetuates laziness regarding doing our “homework” on issues that don’t feel urgent or relevant to our daily needs.
  3. It’s easier and faster to go with our emotional response to the issue, and make decisions from there.
  4. We might possess a conscious or unconscious fear that if we become more informed on climate change, we’ll face the guilt or pressure of making lifestyle changes that are inconvenient or expensive, or both.
  5. Our close family members and friends have clear opinions on climate change, and it’s uncomfortable to engage in even healthy confrontation with the most important people in our lives.

Another resource to keep handy is this Q&A page on the NASA web site. When anyone, especially a politician, is making passionate claims about climate change, investigate the claim using this resource or a similar one from a credible entity. Whether or not you agree with the politician, don’t fully take his or her word for it. Investigate it for yourself, so that you can exercise the best possible critical thinking to make a sound choice.

Something else to do regularly is search for recent news articles regarding what elected officials are saying or doing regarding climate change. If you have the facts already at hand, you’ll be better informed about which leaders to vote into or out of office based on their stance.

But I’ll tell you this: If I lived in Minnesota, I would vote Rep. Omar into higher and higher office. We need so many more leaders who share her wisdom and values.