One of the things that strikes me about all this Climate Change stuff is that it’s all fairly dark. It’s all about impending disaster, which all of our own doing, which can be avoided, if we only took the appropriate action, which we’re not.
Added to this, is the fact that the Green Movement and those around it frame the problem in the negative. This is something that Antony Giddens (author of The Politics of Climate Change) talked about in a interview when discussing the difficulties in getting people to engage with the issue:
“Climate Change is essentially about abstract future risk and I think it’s quite hard for ordinary citizens to understand and appreciate that. It maybe catastrophic, but it’s not there; it’s not visible in ones everyday life. So I think that most people in the course of their everyday lives push it aside, they act as if it’s not happening. It’s happening somewhere else, or it’s not something we can deal with and I think that’s a large amount of the answer to the question ‘If we’re not doing enough, why are we not doing enough?’…’I think we need a revolution to our attitudes to Climate Change because mostly it’s been driven..by getting people to be scared of catastrophe and I think we need a Gestalt switch – we need to have more positive motivation, we need to talk of opportunity, not just problem, we need to talk about benefit, not just cost … Martin Luther King didn’t start his speech with ‘I had a nightmare’. Being negative is especially counter-productive when you’re dealing with a risk that isn’s visible.”
So, what to do? Well, one way to do address this, could be the polar opposite. If Climate Change is abstract, negative future why don’t we make the solutions concrete, positive and immediate? This is what’s happening with VW’s Fun Theory, where they believe ‘that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better’. The best example is the piano staircase to get people to take the stairs, rather than the escalator:
There are a bunch more on the site, but makes you realise that the Climate Change debate could do with an injection of fun in order to get people to engage with it. Endless doom and gloom is perhaps not the best way to get people excited and involved.