Isn’t this a lovely demand from the usual sources?
One of the key lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic is that strong policies require strong public engagement: people needed to understand the nature of the virus before they would tolerate constraints on their lives or provide the government with a mandate for action.
Yet the world faces another major problem that is already transforming economies, infrastructure and way of life: the climate crisis. And in this case, governments have miserably failed to inform or consult their citizens. Not one of the highest-polluting nations attending Joe Biden’s climate summit last week has a coherent strategy or dedicated national budget for public engagement.
We must have more climate change propaganda Comrades!
The people must be educated into desiring more poverty.
And can they be surprised if people resent and resist policies for which a mandate has never been sought or earned?
Only if we scare the bejabbers out of the peasantry will they consent to remaining as peasants.
It’s time for governments to launch a sustained and informed engagement with their citizens.
Hmm, I wonder, is there anyone who might be suitable to run such a system of brainwashing the citizenry?
George Marshall is the founding director of Climate Outreach,
Ah, George, how fortunate you’re here.
Governments must resist the instinctive urge to blow budgets on short-lived campaigns of advertisements, celebrity endorsements and political sloganeering. Some background publicity is valuable, but our research shows that communicating about the climate crisis also requires a more sustained approach: recruiting authentic and trusted communicators, training scientists to speak skilfully, tailoring messaging to the values of different audiences, and reaching people through their communities, workplaces and faith networks. After all, the aim is to build shared understanding, not to sell a product.
Perhaps we could institute a two minute hate each day?
Whitehall would do well to look north of the border. For the past 13 years, the Scottish government has been quietly and steadily supporting community organisations to initiate local conversations about the climate on a modest, £8.5m annual budget. We know what to do, but it must be scaled up.
And wonder of wonders. That Scottish campaign does indeed involve the Scottish government giving lots of money to Climate Outreach, the organisation run by Our George who is urging more climate change propaganda.
George Yosser Marshall.
Finally, the government must accept that building a collective mandate requires it to reach all people, paying particular attention to those who are sceptical, marginalised and disengaged. There are excellent models from health, addiction and literacy campaigns that provide clear strategies, targets and measures of success. At present, climate engagement has none of these.
And as we approach the Cop26 climate conference, we must question the technocratic culture that assumes carbon targets can be delivered solely through smart engineering and spreadsheets. We hear much about leadership, but leadership is meaningless without followers, and ambition is a fantasy unless it is widely shared and supported. Public engagement is not window dressing; it is the essential foundation for all policy.
And unless we manage to propagandise to everyone then the peasantry will tell us to piss off when we make them poorer. And can’t be having with that, can we?