2010-12-08 08:45:30The Biggest Obstacles to a Climate Deal are Overwhelm and Emotional Disconnect
John Cook


Article on the difficulties in making people care about climate change:


There is an emotional disconnect between the language of the climate movement and its underlying drivers. This emotional disconnect is the single greatest obstacle to reaching a climate deal because when you look at the language of the movement, it becomes immediately and crystal clear why there is no global consensus for action: without emotional currency driving a movement for change, there is no real motivation for change.

The FOX-GOP has taken the messaging campaign of anti-climate-change to the hearts and minds of America, while the climate movement itself still struggles with an identity crisis and a marketing failure.

Here’s what I need to get over my own overwhelm and emotional disconnect… and to the Climate Movement, if you can meet me where I stand — which admittedly is a lot closer to your side of the street than the anti-climate bunch — chances are, you’ll be a lot closer to reaching your adversaries:

  • Give me clean energy first. Then tax the dirty stuff. Don’t tax fossil fuel energy excessively without first creating the clean energy which won’t be taxed, and making that energy available to me. DUH.
  • Talk to me in words that make me feel something. I don’t care about words like “mitigation” and “adaptation” and “balanced package” no matter how much you tell me those words are important. I DON’T CARE. Find words that move my heart.

Everything else is detail. Speak to these two bullet points above, and we’ll have a climate deal in no time.


2010-12-08 17:42:01
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Many that I speak to on climate change don't know enough to care; when I share enough for them to then act on, they are overwhelmed by it all.

What is needed is, as you say, something to reach people, something that tugs on the heart strings, something that moves the heart.

I'm not saying that this is the end-all, be-all.  But it reached my heart, so I repost it here (playing my Barnabas role):


If we do nothing most, or all, may be lost.

An example of doing something, in the face of overwhelming odds:

“Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?”

The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.”

“I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?”

“The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”

“But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”


There is something very special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our visions the power to shape the future.

We must each find our starfish. And if we throw our stars wisely and well, the world will be blessed.”


What you do matters. Take heart. Make a difference, today.


And then an example of the cost of inaction:

They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up. ~ Martin Niemöller