(Link to our research that informed this call.)
For the first time, the number of people in the southern hemisphere equaled those in the North on this community call! Our topic this month was focusing on climate change messaging and the vision casting we wanted to create as an alternative narrative to the future.
Why the narrative is important? – from Climate Justice Alliance –
“The narrative: our story and vision for the world we want and know is possible. Short, medium and long term organizing strategy—indeed, entire movements—grow and are derived from narratives… The seeds of our narrative form the roots to weather the many storms ahead.”
Language used in climate change campaigns began our conversation, comparing agencies and the words they used on their websites. You can read the research presented here. In the conversation that followed, the participants highlighted the following things as important:
Main Observations and Concerns
- Concern in greenwashing by interest groups, an emphasis on technology, or using narratives of fear with alarmist language. Focus too much on tech to save us, or focus on the problem rather than the solution generating ‘warning fatigue’. “People are sick of the alarm, it’s been sounding since we were born.”
- People who use alarmist messaging don’t tend to have a stable connection with nature.
They can have lack of grounding or a clear message about who they want to reach, eg they want to shake you into ‘waking up’ and are often aggressive about it. Receiving alarmist language sets off the nervous system, making us anxious, tired, desperate.
- We’re collectively doing things no one wants to do individually. Colonization and commodification of nature is still happening. Language can be racist, divisive. ‘For and against’ arguments do not help.
- The carbon cycle is abstract. It also doesn’t capture the full spectrum of problems arising from human activity. Some research shows it only affects 4% of the Earth’s heat cycle, and the focus would be better restoring the disrupted hydrological cycle.
There is a need for:
- A narrative that is irrefutable. This is because the “climate change” and ‘global warming” terms can be too easily argued with because the Earth is naturally in flux with temperature and conditions.
- Elevating the messages of indigenous people.
- Changing our relationship to nature/planet. We’ve lost that connection to ourselves and to the planet through the narrative of separation. We need to understand the barriers that are stopping people having this connection.
- Understanding the co-dependent relationships between life and living creatures and that we need to include other beings in our sense of self. Shift focus to care of ourselves and other beings.
- Connection pathways to help people connect to Nature/Mother Earth.
The call ended with the question “How do you personally connect with nature?” Nervously, people shared the activities they do to connect. Internally, we thought we were weird (some voiced this too). Through sharing stories we realized we all had a deep connection to nature, and take time to commune with it regularly. We are not weird, but actually share a common thread which we believe is part of the answer. We only think we are separate and weird, but we are actually united. Being ‘weird’ is becoming the new normal.
The conclusion of this conversation reflects what Daniel Christian Wahl, regenerative author, talks about. When you are in a ‘regenerative’ mindset you understand that humans are part of the system. We are not apart/separate from it. More individuals are remembering this connection. And now we are remembering how to also transform the systems we hang our lives off.