Make climate change a local issue
suggests that most people in the UK think climate change is a global
issue, not a local one. We need to show people how climate change will
affect them at home – and what they need to change to tackle the
climate change with people your audience admires or respects, or with
things they care about, like home improvement or local green spaces.
Often you can make these associations indirectly – for example
using a photo of a celebrity who happens to be using public transport.
Changing attitudes, then actions
people’s attitudes to climate change don’t match their actions –
and you show them – they’re more likely to change their attitudes
to justify their behaviour than change their behaviour to match their
attitude. So don’t confront your audience like this unless you make
sure you show them how they can take positive action to achieve change.
Don’t rely on people’s concern for their children’s future
suggests that people with children are no more likely to be concerned
about the effects of climate change on the lives of future generations
than people without children. Arguably, parents have more pressing
short-term concerns than non-parents with fewer commitments and higher
levels of leisure time and disposable income.
Don’t even rely on people’s concern for their own future
human instinct for survival is strong. But evidence suggests that it
only really works in the immediate term, and rarely works collectively.
Think about how many people smoke, even when they know the harm they
are doing themselves in the long term – and how much harm they do
Scaring people doesn’t work – show them how they can change
we need people to see climate change as an important issue, we can’t
scare people into doing something about climate change if they don’t
know that their actions can make a difference. On its own, fear just
creates apathy and people avoid the issue.
Don’t get personal
need to maintain a balanced approach when we identify who is
responsible for tackling climate change – government, industry,
communities and individuals need to feel they are acting together.
often unhelpful to put all the blame on the individual and to criticise
behaviour that people consider normal in their home or family. Instead,
make it clear everyone has a role to play in acting together. We also
need to make behaviour that reduces the threat of climate change seem
positive or desirable.
People aren’t always rational
rarely carefully weigh up the outcomes of the decisions they make, and
then make the choice that’s clearly in their own interest. Rational
arguments alone aren’t enough to persuade people to change.
More than information
information is very useful when you want to show people how important
climate change is. But lots of scientific or technical information
alone is not enough and can be confusing. We also need to show how
climate change is linked to people’s day-to-day lives.
More than money
are motivated by opportunities to make – or save – money.
But often when these opportunities are linked to tackling climate
change, they are not seen as socially desirable. Economic incentives
alone are not enough.