Welsh Green Dragon

Can shock tactics stem climate change apathy? by Chris Halpin

In a lecture last week our guest speaker did an on the spot poll – who is worried about climate change? Out of 100 would be journalists, all intelligent and well read, a meagre dozen or so put up their hands. The lecturer Mark Brayne said people should be as scared about climate change as if there was a meteor on direct collision course with earth, splashed all over the front pages, everyday.

But it just doesn’t invoke that sense of urgency. Everyone plods along none the wiser. Only last month David Miliband trod on his brothers toes in exclamation we should all be afraid, very afraid.

So why is it that the general populace seem unbothered by this approaching catastrophe? Is it because you can’t see CO2? We of course need a massive reevaluation in lifestyle and our perception of economic growth and consumption. I reckon people just seem powerless to do anything, the scale of it being far too massive to comprehend. And I think in part thats also cause by the scare tactic campaigns which we are ever the more bombarded with. People disengage with doom and gloom and just think, well sod it, it’s too big for me alone to sort out so why should I give up my 4X4 and european city breaks via Easyjet. Someone else will sort it out.

Unfortunately, as I needn’t really have to tell you, this kind of bunker mentality is so unbelievably short-sighted and if it continues we’re on the road to ruin.

Fortunately todays Guardian environment blog has saved me masses of effort and has already been mulling over this chilling effect (perhaps a perverse way to put it) of climate ‘propaganda’, so I’m linking to it rather than replicating it entirely. Its loads better than this so I’d recommend giving it a read instead!

Plane stupid‘s latest campaign with Polar bears meeting a grizzly end falling from the sky is graphic, the message hits home, but in my opinion the extent of the propaganda really insults people’s intelligence. I’m not denying flying is disastrous on the environment, but the plight of the poor polar bear has been bastardised so much it doesn’t really mean much anymore. It’s pretty much a visual cliché – like that of the Panda in the 80’s. Yes it’s synonymous with environmental destruction, we get the message, but you don’t walk out of your front door everday and see a dead polar bear splattered on the pavement. Climate change needs contextualising into everyday life.

And then there’s bedtime story, part of the governments Act On CO2 awareness drive. First aired on a friday night sandwiched in between parts 1 and 2 of Coronation Street, it’s obvious who they are targeting here.

But does it work? Does Mum now sort her rubbish, cycle to work and grow her own veg so her little sprog will survive to live in future comfort. I suspect not – bet they’re both now in Tesco’s buying unethically and unsustainably sourced treats and turkey twizzlers with the gas guzzling monster waiting outside.

And this is the problem, I think until it really starts to hit people where it hurts most – their bank accounts / pockets, then the majority of us will continue to be the materialistic gluttons raping the earth of all that it has.

Or maybe I am now just scaremongering myself.


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[…] or turning away just won’t get us anywhere. Let’s hope the public have it in them to care. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)writing about climate change in south […]

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