There has been quite some controversy recently about a story out of NY magazine: The Uninhabitable Earth. It goes into detail about things that “could” happen to the planet with projected changes in climate, such as food shortages, plagues, continuous wars, etc. Some say that it’s dangerous to present doomsday scenarios about climate change, and some aren’t so sure.

We at TheClimateEconomy believe it’s time for climate change to go on stage. People should be inundated with climate change information and scenarios from all directions, in order to illustrate the messages of the science, to bring home the dangers and opportunities, to appeal to emotions. Books, stories, shows, comics, vlogs, etc. That is to say, tell stories that use the science so that people can understand the science better.

What could happen if we act? What could happen if we don’t? What can people do? What difference will it make?

And as is the case with today’s advertisers, you have to be ready to deliver people the content they like best, so you have to spread it around to different types of media. We need a 24-hour climate change news channel, let’s go! There is a huge opportunity here, to get people more aware of the dangers and the opportunities. The climate change denial conspiracy guild needs some competition.

A majority of Americans support climate action, but still it’s not a priority. It’s clearly hard for many people to relate to the scientific findings without being able to visualize how it could affect them, their daily lives or their futures. For many people, the people currently feeling the wrath of climate change are far off in the distance, either in far off countries they’ve never heard of or in terms of the distant future. This doesn’t create the feelings of urgency that are without a doubt needed. And they don’t realize that taking action now could be beneficial, not just a burden.

Another complication is that it’s impossible for anyone to say what’s definitely going to happen, so whatever scenarios we do come up with, they could be wrong. But if people don’t get that climate change is a serious problem that needs global action right now, then worrying about the perfection of our scenarios is not our biggest problem. Our biggest problem is that no one’s going to worry about it. I’m not saying facts and the truth are not important, or that we don’t need to worry about getting it right, because we do and we should; it’s just that in this case, we need to help people along on their journey to the truth, asap.

We need to not only show the dangers of inaction, but also the opportunities of action. So we need everyone who can to write it up, talk it up, do it up, as in get the words and the stories out about climate change.  Get it on stage. However you can. Time to let loose some creativity.

Here’s an essay about this idea: The Great Derangement, by Amitav Ghosh. (Snippets of the first chapter is available online here.) One thought provoking quote for you:

In a substantially altered world, when sea-level rise has swallowed the Sundarbans and made cities like Kolkata, New York, and Bangkok uninhabitable, when readers and museumgoers turn to the art and literature of our time, will they not look, first and most urgently, for traces and portents of the altered world of their inheritance? And when they fail to find them, what should they—what can they—do other than to conclude that ours was a time when most forms of art and literature were drawn into the modes of concealment that prevented people from recognizing the realities of their plight? Quite possibly, then, this era, which so congratulates itself on its self-awareness, will come to be known as the time of the Great Derangement.

Ghosh, Amitav. The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (Berlin Family Lectures) (Kindle Locations 154-159). University of Chicago Press. Kindle Edition.

There have been progress in this area, such as at news outlets like The Guardian, GreenBiz, CleanTechnica and others, bringing the topic to the forefront. Many works of popular culture have used climate change as a topic, but what’s lacking is a coherent message that’s relevant to the current generation and the urgency of the issue.

What are your ideas for getting “climate change” reality out there, into people’s hearts and minds? Do you know of some good resources?  Please share.

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