Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Why We Need to Change the Way We Talk About Climate Change

The way we currently communicate climate change — be it through articles in the newspaper, conversations with friends, or billboard adverts — is fundamentally flawed.

Most discussions of climate change are framed negatively. Take the below screenshot from The Guardian’s climate change section for instance (as of 17 Dec 2018). We have climate change ruining dreams of a white Christmas, the message that the next two years will determine humanity’s fate, corrupted businesses, activists not doing enough protesting, and the end of blackcurrants. It’s no wonder most people fail to engage with the narrative around climate change: it’s simply all gloom and doom.

A similar narrative runs through adverts which aim to make consumers take action against climate change. This one, from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), for instance, is pretty fatalistic: once the rain forests are gone, they’re gone. This might be factual, but it seems unlikely that the average person is going to be motivated to go and fight climate change.

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