Emotive language is undoubtedly an insightful lens through which to view climate change. Impactful filmmaking on the changing climate and its effects are significant. Visuals and moving images are a powerful form of affective response. However, writing can be not only illuminating but an awakening force. We are shifting from an in-depth focus on the science in this post as well as the last couple of posts. This does not mean to detract from actual scientific evidence and facts. But, for a society permeated by social media, science is simply no longer enough as a convincing tool. The way in which the severity of the issue is communicated is now perhaps of greater importance.
Scientists and politicians have spent countless years trying to scientifically explain and discuss the disastrous effects of climate change, along with what it is, what it’s doing, and what it will do to the earth if we do not act. It has grown phenomenally as an issue that ought to be at the forefront of our consciousness thanks to well-known figures such as Al Gore and renowned climate scientist Michael E. Mann. Just recently, Al Gore joined Hilary Clinton on her campaign trail in Florida and smoothly dissected the current climate issues facing the globe. However, is this enough?
Simply lecturing on climate change and global warming as detrimental threats do not spur instantaneous action or change. It is easy to shelve such lectures as apocalyptic narratives, as Tony Birch puts it. He implicitly highlights the characteristics in tune with a society of the 21st century. We will choose to give our very limited span of attention to a site, speaker, or channel that will ultimately hand us a dramatic and/or entertaining tale that does not reveal its ending, but will encourage us to think creatively and in a curious manner. But, an abundance of hope is a bore. Overwhelming negativity and despair drive a feeling of helplessness and the question “what’s the point?”. So, a balance ought to be achieved. More importantly, communication ought to be looked at as a strategy carefully formulated to spur strong feelings and strong reactions. Otherwise, we are engaged for the time being, but we are not impacted to our core in the long term.