Nobody panic, but we need to talk about the climate emergency.
The words we’re using to describe the current climate situation are the right ones for the scale of the problem…but are they provoking the wrong reaction?
2018 reports revealed we may have just 12 years left to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.just 12 years left to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
The news sparked a global movement as activists, scientists, business leaders and consumers began to take action for the climate emergency.
But frustrations are growing as governments, leaders and corporations are failing to go “all in” on sustainability.
If we’re going to engage everyone, our language needs to shift.
Because our reptile brain reactions may just be stopping us from taking meaningful climate action.
Emergency situations trigger our fight, flight or freeze response.
Our evolutionary instinct is to fight, take flight or freeze when faced with danger.
Psychologists have acknowledged a rise in eco-anxiety as more people begin to worry about the impact of climate change.
But this could actually be triggering more denial and complacency from those who respond with flight or freeze reactions.
Emergencies require short-term thinking
In the midst of an emergency, our attention is focused on short term safety and disaster relief.
It’s only afterwards, when a sense of calm returns, that we’re able to implement plans to prevent this situation happening again.
There’s no doubt that the clock is ticking when it comes to climate change – but we need long-term, circular thinking to come up with meaningful solutions.
If we continue to work in ‘sustainability silos’, we might not consider the full impact of our solutions – and when it comes to the environment, action in one area can actually make things worse in another.
We need to learn to work with long-term solutions and a pressing sense of urgency if we’re going to create meaningful change.
Language is a powerful tool for change
If you’re struggling to get sustainability buy-in from stakeholders, take another look at the language you’re using.look at the language you’re using.
Are your climate communications triggering the right reaction?