From “Climate Change” to “Damage to the Climate”

climate changeThis recent article in Grist Magazine does a great job of summarizing the latest recommendations on how to talk about our warming planet. The report comes from a stellar communications research team that included Celinda Lake, Anat Shenker-Osorio and others we admire and look to for credible advice on talking about public issues.

Here’s how the article summarized the recommendations:

“Let’s Talk Climate” is very, very detailed, but not in an academic way. Mostly, it is a collection of handy “Dos and Don’ts” lists, which are full of opinions on what not to say to those you are trying to climate-educate (“climate change, climate crisis, climate risk, global warming”) and what you should say (“damage to the climate”).

Other rewordings to consider:

  • Stop it with “stop/mitigate/slow down climate change” talk. Instead, say things like “create healthy and safe communities” and “protect our families’ and children’s health.”
  • No more “renewable energy,” “green energy,” or “domestic energy.” Instead, try “locally made clean energy,” or the even more America-and-apple-pie version—“clean energy, made right at home.”
  • Cut out the talk about how doing something about climate change will make things better for you or the person who you are trying to persuade as individuals. It’s much more inspiring to say, “better for families, our children, and future generations.”


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