Did you hear the news? It’s all our fault, all of it. What is you say? The climate catastrophe that’s what.
On 5th August the UN IPPC (which stands for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) published their latest report which laid the blame for the climate catastrophe squarely at the feet of us. Humans are unequivocally to blame.
You may or may not have read about it. You may have read about it and moved on. You may have read about and wondered what you can do to help. You may then have stalled as you couldn’t find any meaningful information as to what can you do. Exactly. Navigating the language around climate issues can be very tricky – see my earlier blog on this.
From a personal perspective, I did read one piece on the top 10 actions you can take now, and Mrs Smugface here of Smug City was already doing them. Am I the target audience then for personal changes? Probably not.
So if humans are to blame, humans need to take action (as of yesterday!) and it’s those who aren’t Mrs Smugface of Smug City who need to be persuaded to take action. How?
Reaching the hard to reach is always the trickiest bit of any comms. Look at where we are with the vaccine. Whilst I’m sure the majority in most age groups stepped up willingly to get jabbed (and queued for the privilege in some cases) a huge amount of resources have been put into reaching those reluctant or totally unwilling to be vaccinated. Vaccine buses touring areas with low take up, pop up vaccines in parks and incentivised perks in exchange for a jab have all been tried and tested.
The same resources need to be thrown at climate sceptics. The annual litter survey thing flags up, on an annual basis, the need to get a bottle deposit scheme up and running ASAP – another link to an earlier blog of mine on this. This would be a win-win and would serve to highlight the issues (if communicated well) to the undecided/unconvinced.
Importantly I’m not entirely convinced that the collective conscious thing works for sceptics. The devout non-maskers and anti-vaxxers don’t care that ‘wearing a mask protects us all’ or getting jabbed helps us all’, so will the climate sceptics do one thing/make one small change for the benefit of humanity? Doubtful. And I totally get the argument, ‘Why should I do XYZ when it’s the big businesses that cause the most damage’. We need to counter this with a MUCH stronger argument, in plain English, letting people know what difference they can make, and why. And yes the big guns need to sort themselves out too. And we need a range of measures for individuals, for businesses and from UK gov.
For example, we know that about a fifth of the UK’s carbon output comes from draughty homes. Mine is one of them, and I’m a bit stuck on how I change that. I have some personal/direct experience of this with the failed (and totally not fit for purpose IMHO) Green Deal for Homes thing, which was supposed to help inefficient (so by definition, older) housing stock perform better. My older stock inefficient house could not be helped, so who was it designed to help, and who did benefit? It’s OK saying that gas boilers must be phased out from 2025 but not when no viable alternative has yet been put in place. It’s one thing telling us we are to blame, and it’s a wake-up call alright but utterly pointless without solutions.
On the plus side, for business – I have just joined/pledged The SME Climate Hub – (not just for the purposes of this piece), “Where SME leaders future-proof their business by committing to halve greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 and reach net-zero emissions before 2050.” I will report back.