Call Out Everyday Climate Denial
This is part of a series on climate change / global warming and its solutions
Some climate change denial is really obvious.
- Senator Inhofe bringing a snowball into Congress and saying there’s no global warming because it’s cold outside – that was pretty obvious.
- Webpages on the EPA and other websites relating to climate change being deleted by the Trump administration. That’s not very subtle.
- The Australian government sanctioning a massive coal plant even though they know coal is terrible for the environment – and for their Great Barrier Reef.
- The UK continuing to push fracking despite its methane emissions (and public opposition) is another example of blatant climate change denial.
And there are lots more.
Those acts of climate change denial are obvious.
We can all see them for what they are.
But….. there is plenty of other climate denial around too. And it’s so commonplace that we don’t actually see it for what it is.
And it’s here that we can all help.
The Not-So-Obvious Everyday Climate Change Denial
What about the stuff that gets reported on in the media, and advertised widely? For example:
- London wants to add another major airport runway (perhaps two) to increase aviation traffic to the city. Emissions from flying are particularly nasty for the climate. But it’s touted as being good for the economy.
- Oil giant BP is sponsoring a new exhibition at the British Museum. It’s called “Sunken Cities” – how ironic that sea level rise is happening due to the use of oil.
- United Airlines are advertising how wonderfully “green” they are because they serve in-flight beverages in plastic cups that are made from recycleable material. That’s nice – but each flight is damaging the climate, and UA are one of the least green airlines in the USA.
- Sales of cars in the USA had a record year in 2016 in the US – and they were led by gas-guzzling SUVs and luxury cars with massive emissions. Journalists write about it being good for the economy – but don’t mention that it’s lousy for the climate.
- How many businesses and companies do you personally know who know the problem with climate change, but still make their business plans without regard for internationally agreed climate targets?
- Read any magazine and you’ll see tons of advertisements for cheap fares to holiday destinations. They’re advertising guilt-free flying, and we need to consider that.
How Can We Change Everyday Climate Change Denial?
How do you change a culture that is so embedded?
The first step is making people aware that everyday climate change denial is even there. That can be done by calling it out whenever it’s spotted using the simple device of social media.
Think back to when smoking was “OK”. The truth behind tobacco’s links to cancer was carefully concealed behind a “smokescreen” of glamour. It took a lot of work for the truth to be publicized – but now we’re aware of it.
It’s the same idea behind sexism. When people don’t recognize discrimination, it will continue.
And it’s exactly the same idea with everyday climate change denial.
We need to recognize it for what it is.
We’ve seen radical shifts in short periods of time in attitudes to smoking, drink driving, and intolerance toward different sexual identities.
Are You On Social Media?
If you have a Facebook or Twitter or Instagram account, or any of the social media that are so widespread today, you can help.
Use the hashtag #DailyClimateDenial and point out examples of people and businesses doing things that hurt our climate.
And point it out – over and over again – on social media. So everyone becomes aware of the problem of everyday climate change denial, and sees it for what it is.
To quote Andrew Simms, the man who came up with this great idea:
In the age of social media ideas diffuse rapidly, especially when they draw attention to an accumulating and ignored wrong.
Sometimes all it can take to break the spell is for someone to start pointing things out.
So, the next time you see a patio heater outside a restaurant warming thin air and not much else, or other such acts of daily climate denial, snap it, hashtag it, and share it.
If we call out denial, and if we change attitudes, better policy and action will surely follow.
Everyday climate change denial is alive and well and thriving. It’s so common that we don’t see it any more.
That needs to change, just like attitudes to smoking and drink driving.
When you see examples of everyday climate change denial, snap it, hashtag it, and share it.
Other interesting articles in this series:
- Is climate change real – or a hoax?
- Why do people deny climate science? They have very good reasons! Click here.
- What can we do for energy without making climate change even worse?
- Drawdown – 100 Practical Climate Solutions
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What do you think about this idea? Do you think it’s good? Will it work? Will it change perceptions? Will it raise awareness? Or are we too busy with other stuff on social media to notice this hashtag? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
- Why denying climate change is just so much more attractive than facing the truth
- How to use natural breezeways to cool your home – you’ll save money on air conditioning, and it’s miles better for the planet too
- Don’t buy bottled water – it’s lousy for your wallet and for the planet. Tap water is basically free. If you don’t like the taste, get a water filter.