Sunday, April 20, 2014

Polar bears, penguins and pie charts...

Have got to go.

As a communications strategy they are swiftly diminishing in utility. Which is a polite way of saying - they're no longer working! 

I recently read that, over the past 6 years, the number of Americans who "believe" in climate change has actually gone down. Yet many in the climate change activism community continue to blog and tweet and talk about the same old things. Here a pie chart, there a graph, there a picture of a (robustly fluffy) polar bear cub on a crumbling ice floe.

These things speak to me. If you're reading this post, they likely speak to you, too. But it's becoming more and more apparent that they've grabbed all the market share they can - and we need some new communications tools in our toolbox!

We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to topics of conversation, because climate change is affecting everything!

So let's ditch the wildlife - or at least reduce the mentions - and focus on people. We can talk about taxes - food security - insurance prices - the lives of firefighters and other first responders - food prices - disease - kids - the mysterious die-off of moose in the great northern woods - real estate in Florida - crumbling infrastructure in the midst of ever wilder weather - tornado alley becoming tornado boulevard - chocolate and coffee - climate change refugees - ticks moving north (see "moose die-off, above) - farmers - gardeners - bees - hunting - fishing - our national parks... Truly, the list is pretty much endless.

Awwww.... SO CUTE!
So consider giving the polar bear and penguin pics a rest. Trust that the evidence backs you up, WITHOUT having to brandish a graph or pie chart every time you speak about climate change!

It's real - it's here - it's flucking gripping - and we need to reach out and grab people's hearts and emotions as well as their minds by telling them the story of how the things that they love are in imminent peril.

The "opposition" has no compunction about using nakedly manipulative language, and they don't have truth on their side. We have the truth on our side. It shouldn't be hard to communicate effectively and change minds. We just need to switch up tactics - and soon.