Communicating Climate Change – save me from this doom and gloom

Watching films like the 11th Hour, the Age of Stupid and an Inconvenient Truth, I’m always struck by feelings of powerlessness and anxiety. These films highlight important issues, and the absolute imperative that the world takes action, but offer little that is concrete in terms of how.

One article I have found refers to these feelings as “fear leading to paralysis”. The Science for Environment Policy: Environment Communication issue has an article entitled “Fear is not the answer to communicating climate change”. What do you think? Do you agree with the researchers? Do you agree that while frightening climate change images attract attention, it is the more ‘enabling’, everyday images that encourage behaviour change?

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5 comments on “Communicating Climate Change – save me from this doom and gloom
  1. suzanale says:

    In general, I strongly believe in the power of positive reinforcement or as you mention – ‘enabling’, everyday images to encourage a behavior change.
    However, I also believe that topic of Climate Change needs to be communicated through images such as ones used in the “11th hour”. There is still high level of unawareness of climate change danger and that to the point that many people view Climate Change as bringing benefits of milder winters and longer summers to enjoy pool season. For larger population to understand the seriousness of the situation, the message needs to be strong and real. The important thing though is to accompany the message of danger with clear messages of potential solutions to the problem, solutions that can be implemented by individuals as well as by governments or businesses. This coupling of danger with solutions would, imo, replace the “fear leading to paralysis” with the call to action filled with hope.

  2. janekassouf says:

    Although I agree that the 11th hour does leave you feeling a sense of hopelessness and doesn’t really give any indication to what each of us in our everyday life can do to make a difference. But I think the only way these sorts of movies can impact us and get us seriously thinking about the issue is to portray it in this way.
    The way we are communicating about climate change also for me linked back to the video of the young girl that Suzana posted. It got me thinking about how we educate children about the issue as they are so key in ensuring future behaviours change. I guess a lot of a child’s exposure to this would be impacted by their family and schooling. I am not sure if anyone knows about climate change or sustainability being part of primary school or secondary school curriculum. I wonder if they watch movies like the 11th hour (I guess teenage girls will be with Leonardo DiCaprio in it).
    I found this interesting video of someone that thinks we are teaching our children that it is all doom and gloom with the environment.

  3. jeremy says:

    Johnny Ball is not a good advertisement for the climate change deniers. My goodness!

  4. erinaulich says:

    I’m betting he didn’t read past the first 10 pages.GCSE Chemistry concepts may be a little beyond Johnny! Oh no, I’m heading to Spain next week and there’s not likely to be any sun. Looking forward to his report on propaganda filled textbooks, keep me posted Jane!

  5. jeremy says:

    The thing is, I used to watch Johnny on TV as a kid, and I thought he was quite a cool guy … my childhood memories are now shattered 😦

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