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"The Climate Change PR Disaster," and What to Do About It

on • 1 min. read

Bob Pickard has worked for dirty energy public relations firms in the past, but he's dead on correct and exhaustive in this piece ("The Climate Change PR Disaster"). A few key points.

  • "...global warming is by far the biggest long-term challenge that our world faces. This problem can only be addressed if it is thought to be important enough – and urgent enough – for people (both elites and mass society) to think and act differently about climate change than they have before, and to do so in concert with each other. I can only see that happening if the public relations efforts around climate change improve dramatically."
  • A few reasons "why climate change is such a vexing communications conundrum" include "story fatigue," "temporal distortion"  ("There could not be a worse match between the climate change cycle and the news story cycle"), the "contrast effect" ("Not only can we not easily perceive climate changes over time, but we can’t see the ‘culprit’ of carbon dioxide at all because it is a clear gas. As a result, many aren’t noticing worrisome changes in the environment because they have difficulty imagining them"), "framing issues," "confirmation bias," "denial efforts," "analogue communications for the digital age," etc.
  • So what can we do? "We can apply our vast experience and influential capabilities in the service of climate change awareness and activism...particularly when social media is becoming the world’s new central nervous system and is fostering an emerging collective global consciousness, I think PR can help inform, influence and inspire as never before."
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