This week’s writing assignment asks you to “think like a social scientist” in the Hoover and Donovan sense. One thing social scientists try to do is explain differences. We focus on questions like “why are some countries rich and others poor” or “why are democratic revolutions stable and successful while others collapse and reverse themselves?” This week, I’d like to think about one of these puzzles:
Why was the global political effort to respond to ozone depletion* and acid rain more successful than the global political effort to respond to climate change?
Identify two possible answers to this question. For each of your two answers, a) write a paragraph explaining why it might be plausible, in your view, and b) write a paragraph outlining how one might “test” this theory–where we should look for evidence to see it it’s accurate or not, if we were researchers trying to do answer this question. Don’t worry if that data-gathering process is well beyond your capabilities–I’m not asking you to do it, just think about how it could be done.
*at least in reducing the sources of ozone depletion–due to the timeline of their effects, positive change is only now starting to occur.