This information doesn’t make the vast majority of people want to change the way they live. Yes, the facts are important, scientists know climate change is a real problem because the facts say so. But the facts aren’t convincing everyone.
Veritasium explores this in his recent video entitled Climate Change is Boring;
We know climate change is real and we know that the time to act is now. How do we pass this message on to the rest of the world?
Maybe we get people to engage emotionally?
Hang on, scientists need to be precise!
I'm not saying scientists should stop being clinical and exact in how they talk with other scientists, this precision is vital in the industry. It leads to new discoveries and the furthering of collective knowledge, but it may not be the most effective method for communicating with everyone outside of science.
Emotions are real. People experience fear, anger, determination, hope every single day and they can empathise with people feeling the same way. The scientists that have written letters for ITHYF are having all these same emotions, they are real human beings with real emotions. But the scientists aren’t feeling this way about looming deadlines or relationship issues. They are feeling this way about the future their children will have to live in. About the fate of our planet.
Scientists should be allowed to be emotive
Climate change awareness is a battle. A battle against apathy and indifference, but also a battle against something much more sinister. There is a small but very vocal group of people out there whose sole goal is to misinform and mislead the general public about climate change. These people don’t have to use the facts, they don’t have to even use the real data. They can cherry-pick from graphs, or even tell flat out lies in an attempt to mislead the greater public. To what end, who knows.
How can scientists compete with liars, snake-oil salesmen and spin doctors who don’t have to fight by the same rules?
Is it time the scientists took a new tactic? Maybe they should start fighting fire with fire. I wonder how much different a television debate would be if the climate scientists were allowed to throw in the occasional;
‘Our models show that you are an ignorant git’…
Maybe scientists should start picketing the streets, unfurling banners and screaming chants until we start taking notice of what they’re saying.
This probably wouldn’t work. Scientists aren’t here to fling mud in petty debates nor are they here to cause civil unrest. They are here to research the world around us, because they are innately curious, thoughtful and determined individuals. But maybe if they start speaking just a little louder and with a bit more passion, people will listen...