The view of the crisis is depressing. But the desire for the future and positive messages make the commitment to the climate more effective.
Climate protection is so urgently needed. But how do we create majorities for it? How do we convince our fellow human beings? Many of us ask ourselves that again and again. In short: Social majorities in favor of climate protection can be reached through good arguments and even more through good communication. While looking at crises depresses and scares us, we are driven by opportunities. A desire for the future and positive messages make commitment to the climate more effective.
Climate protection makes economic sense – we just have to want it
The restructuring of our society towards CO2 neutrality has long been technically feasible and makes economic sense, as numerous studies show. And it’s urgent: with the current global CO2 budget and CO2 emissions, we’ll hit the 1.5 ° C climate target in less than 8 years. If we want to achieve the 1.5 ° C climate target, we have to reduce our CO2 emissions by 20 percent every year. That is ambitious, but achievable. In order to implement the socio-ecological restructuring of our economy quickly, it needs many people who support this path and a social consensus.
Six tips for better climate communication
We therefore need more “good climate communication”. She applies insights from psychology and communication sciences to climate protection. Good climate communication is solution-oriented and motivating, it shows the advantages of climate protection measures, reaches the target group and invites action. This requires broadcasters and many multipliers. Multipliers are e.g. People who work in air conditioning jobs, have a solar system or are involved in the community energy scene or elsewhere for climate protection. So we are all in demand. Good climate communication has several facets.
- Role models and advantages make you want to see the future
Motivate positive feelings. Integrity, joy, pride, success and recognition, appreciation and care, meaning and community for example. Good climate communication therefore focuses on solutions, on positive visions and even better on real existing role models such as Copenhagen. Because people usually react to threats alone with defense and repression. A car-free or car-poor street, on the other hand, with space to play and more safety for children, with more trees, flowers and berry bushes, is more motivating for action. People love stories, e.g. of villages that save the local climate with the energy transition, strengthen the village community and create jobs. Such a narrative is a good antidote to the image of the fun-poor eco-activists and their eco-dictatorship.
- Address closeness to life and emotions
Good climate communication is also successful when it touches us directly and docks with our reality. How is climate change affecting my city, my environment? How can we adapt nearby agriculture and forestry to the drought? How can we secure the municipal water supply? How do we protect our houses from extreme weather? How can we protect my grandparents from heat waves with climate protection and adaptation measures? Does the protection of the climate influence my work or my hobbies?
- Target group orientation
Good climate communication has a goal and a target group. And it is also aimed at people beyond those who are already convinced. Whom do I want to move? And what moves a person from the target group? Which values are important to her, which things motivate her and what annoys her? What advantages would it have from this or that climate protection measure? When it comes to communication, we often fail to reach others when we are too close to ourselves and not enough with others. It also matters who speaks and how you perform. If I don’t have the right stable smell, it may make sense to work with a key person from the target group.
- Action-oriented, authentic and together
Good climate communication is action-oriented. She looks at the next step and how it can be designed to be motivating. Because knowing or being right does not change the world, but action. Motivate measurable success – this should also be taken into account in climate protection measures. Be authentic. Why should something that doesn’t motivate you to act motivate others? So see what inspires you. That could work for others too. Team up with like-minded people. For most of them, lone warfare is exhausted over time. Together we are strong. We can support each other – on the factual level and on the emotional level. And don’t forget to celebrate together!
- Climate protection in one’s own environment
Climate communication works where I have a good relationship with my counterpart. It works more easily with people around me, with whom I already have a relationship. Few of them actively obtain information on the Internet, through books or information events. Most communication happens in everyday life. And that takes place in your own environment. Talk about climate-friendly measures in your family, among friends, in the company. Talk about specific and motivating solutions. The more you do this, the easier it becomes, for practice makes perfect. Be appreciative in communication. Few of them get involved in a conversation if they don’t feel they are being taken seriously or if they have the feeling that they are being proselytized. Be unexcited role models.
- Climate facts
Of course we should act based on facts. But a deluge of incomprehensible or not-so-important information can do more harm than good. What helps is a climate ABC with the most important facts, which are well prepared, understandable, noticeable and can be passed on, so that climate knowledge is spread through further telling and can also act as a vaccine against climate lies. 70,000 people work in climate research worldwide – that they are all wrong or bought or part of a conspiracy is not particularly plausible. Analogies help to make the complex topic of climate change more understandable. 0.4 per thousand CO2 in the atmosphere can’t have such a big influence? And what about 0.4 per mille of alcohol in the blood?
Jobs for the climate: We are concerned with climate protection
A good example of good climate communication are the opportunities on the job market: climate protection creates jobs – with such an argument, social majorities can be won. And many people are in the mood for meaningful and promising jobs. The economic potential of this future industry is huge. And at the same time we can build a nicer, healthier, more social world through a socio-ecological restructuring of the economy. We should therefore make climate jobs more visible.
There are already hundreds of thousands of air conditioning jobs, e.g. in renewable energies, in organic farming and in local and long-distance public transport. There are now climate protection officers everywhere. And some climate jobs are only just emerging. More and more companies are on the road to climate neutrality and are looking for people to help them. I have high hopes for community-based companies. More climate protection is needed in all areas and levels, be it nutrition, mobility, electricity, heat, industry, education, medicine, care, social affairs, finance, IT, building in one’s own household, in the company, in the neighborhood, the sports club, the municipality, the country, in corporations or worldwide. This requires employees, consultants and company founders who analyze the potential and e.g. Help on an economic, technical, organizational and psychological level to develop and implement new solutions.
Climate protection as a job engine: please spread the word!
In short: Job opportunities motivate through climate protection, they are realistic, they are tangible for almost all target groups, they are action-oriented and always a topic in the personal environment and they can be grasped in numbers. The social-ecological transformation is a joint effort. It’s a challenge, of course, but a damn worthwhile one: climate protection is full of opportunities. Pass it on!
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