We are defined as humans by how we communicate. Other creatures largely learn from the things they experience themselves, but our ability to share experiences empowers us to learn from one another. As we have evolved, so has our ability to exchange knowledge, ideas and stories at ever greater speed and scale. From the creation of paper to the printing press, from radio to the internet, we now have the tools to send and receive billions of messages every second of every day and connect individuals with vast communities and audiences.
The scientist Peter Russel described this phenomenon as the "global brain", and we believe it is this collective network on which our future depends.
Communication gives us the power to educate and inform people, and mobilize solutions to the climate crisis. On a deeper level however, climate communication is shaped by our individual experiences – the places where we live and work, the lives of loved ones, the communities we belong to, and the values and worldviews we hold true.
A lot of communication about climate change gets it right about the risk and possible negative scenarios, but wrong about how we move people to action. It appeals to reason, but everything we know about communication tells us reason is not what drives human behavior. It is vital we overcome this challenge and find ways to not only communicate the science, but mobilize public support for action and solutions.
Each of us must become multipliers of messages and think critically about the kind of stories we tell. Are we telling stories of sacrifice and despair, or hope and opportunity? Are we telling the story of how every single one of our choices could determine the future of our planet and its people?
When I began this journey, I underestimated how far we had to go, but also how far we have come in our knowledge of effective climate communication. This white paper is the proof of that. It is full of lived experiences, studies, opinions, science, all created by a global community that cares deeply. Yet, much of this knowledge has been fragmented and not had the attention or investment it deserves.
Our intention for A new era in climate communications is to facilitate a digital knowledge hub, a place to learn, inspire and support, a place to explore and to break down the communication barriers standing in the way of solving the climate crisis. Working together is not an option, it is an imperative. United, we can bring together the knowledge that bridges the gaps between data and emotion, information and action, and work with each other in new ways to shape the campaigns, messaging and stories that will help determine our future.
This is the starting block, not the finishing line of a shared journey. Our ambition is that those who have contributed their expertise so far will be joined by many others. I invite you to join us in this effort, and we will share details of how at the end of this report.
There are no small contributions, each of you has the power to help light the torch that leads us on a new path.