I am afraid that when it comes to change, despite Obama's message and his momentum, people don't really give a rat's ass. At least, not when it comes to having to change yourself and your habits. I know this because I see it all around me. Cars are still big, and getting bigger. Gas is getting cheaper again (part of me is bummed about this). People are back to their same old habits.
My very wise friend suggested to me that it is because we have made people numb. We have hyped global warming and all of its possible outcomes to such an extent that people just cannot care anymore. If they think about it anymore, they will either 1) break down into tears, 2) become paralyzed with fear, or 3) go slowly crazy meticulously analyzing each of their actions and its complete carbon footprint, eventually ending up in the corner banging their head against the wall. It is actually hip to not care, in the way that it became PC to not be PC, in the way that I hear parents at my kid's [public] school say things like "it is so awesome we get to sing actual Christmas songs this year - it is about time they stopped letting a few people ruin it for the rest of us".
So, wise-friend said, we just need to make it hip for people to care. Hip in the way that carrying your own brand name water-in-a-bottle with you at all times, a bottle most wont even reuse even though tap water is just fine and costs like 99% less, is hip. Since 82% of those water bottles are not even recycled (according to the Sierra Club), we need to reach out somehow and get folks excited, not numb. Especially the folks who support a vice-presidential candidate that thinks that global warming is not a problem, it is all part of God's plan (just a little warning - God could be testing you, you know, to see if you are taking care of "His" earth. Given Noah's Flood and all, I am not so sure I would just blindy go through life thinking it will all be fine.). If you are bothering to read this, you probably already recycle. We need to hook the rest.
OK. Umm, how? Unfortunately, academics, especially scientists, are like the anti-hip. If there are ideas out there, I would love to know.