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The Fatal Flaw in Climate Messaging July 28, 2009

Posted by Morgan in Uncategorized.
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After attending half a dozen hearings on the various climate change bills that have been going through the House and now the Senate, I have noticed a trend in framing that makes me incredibly angry.

There is constant talk about the “clean energy future” and all of our “green jobs” but in all the talking and debating there is no mention of why we are fighting to make these changes. There is hardly ever a mention of the 300,000 people who are dying, the endless amounts of agriculture that are going to be lost, or that entire countries are going to be under water in less than 20 years. They never talk about the fact that global warming could lead to the end of human existence. That is why we have to change our behavior now.

To be completely honest, I don’t think this lack of connections between policy and global warming is purely the fault of the elected officials. I have often caught myself forgetting why I am an activist and why I work on solving global warming. And if I’m forgetting that I am in the movement then what can we expect to see from the general public and our elected officials. The general public doesn’t make the connection between catastrophes such as hurricane Katrina and a dramatic increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They just don’t understand what global warming is and what it means for people right now.

This is a fatal flaw for the climate movement. The issue is complex and the framing is lost. The connections are there but they have to be illustrated. As an active force in the climate movement we, as young people, cannot forget to keep making the connections. When we talk about our energy future, we have to say we need it to prevent additional carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. When we tell people to paint their roofs white or change their light bulbs, we need to say that these small steps should be paired with larger steps by Congress to pass aggressive legislation.

Overall, we need to reconnect to the heart of global warming and remember why we need to innovate. We cannot forget the risk that is in place if we don’t do these things and we have to tell that story to the public. We have to make the connection that to us is so intuitive. It needs to be spelled out. If not, we won’t get everyone on board and without everyone, we are doomed.

For more specific information http://scp.earthjustice.org/?q=node/67

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