I love walking with friends and family, or on my own, in the summer, winter, autumn and the spring. I love a good book. I love eating. I love my wife. I love my children. For the love of all that I care for, we must get to grips with climate change.
You’re now supposed to be ripe and ready to have a conversation about what it means to tackle climate change. The “For the love of…” campaign of the Climate Coalition has been carefully designed and researched to have the maximum impact on those people who are ready to talk about climate change.
The research was carried out by COIN (Climate Outreach and Information Network), who ran workshops with a range of people to understand what messages worked, and what fell flat. Not surprisingly, they found that people find most existing rhetoric on climate change disenfranchising, over-presumptive and preachy. Pictures of polar bears and discussions of the “most serious threat we face” are a turn-off. Certainly explains why it’s only really the “converted” that read my blog.
The one message that did gain traction was in tapping into people’s emotions and asking them what they love. Almost certainly, whatever that is will be under threat by climate change. You can then say something like “For the love of chocolate, we must do something about climate change”. And so the conversation starts and is remembered.
This only works for people when the example is something real and precise, rather than abstract. “For the love of the future” wouldn’t cut it. It seems that the more emotional the connection and the unexpected the example the better. “For the love of a decent pitch” might work. Above all, the message will be respected if it is seen as being said with integrity.
Next Monday I’ll be going to a meeting with the Climate Coalition to discuss the launch of this campaign, with 80 other representatives of the 100 or so organisations that form the coalition, representing their millions of supporters. I’ll let you know how it goes.
There were a couple of other interesting insights in the COIN research. One was that conservatives and community-minded optimists (like me) alike identified avoiding waste as a core value. I wonder if the information that we dump 40kg of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for every 1kg of waste we put in landfill would bring a few more people along?
The other titbit of information in the COIN research was that a lot of people involved thought that examples of real people doing real things to solve the climate change problem would be persuasive. Diverse voices work. I’m glad to hear it, as that is the focus of the Power Shift UK conference in London on 3/4 May.