Climate Survival Communications Group
As a Delegate to the Conference of the Parties in Paris in December, 2015 (COP 21), I was convinced at that time if we could just get a meaningful agreement the world would finally be on a corrective course to deal with Greenhouse Gas Emissions and subdue Climate Change. And just in time, according to the scientists who so well informed the Conference over two decades. Thankfully, COP 21 did its job, and we all returned home to our respective countries and jurisdictions ready to go to work on implementation. Then reality hit, and it became apparent that we had a long way to go in convincing large segments of the public that Climate Change was not only real, but increasingly a threat to their security and survival. Over the ensuing four years, not much has changed in terms of communicating effectively about the existential threat of Climate Survival, but the speed of its impacts has become more apparent as one natural disaster after another has occurred in ways that should awaken us to consistent calls for action — but don’t.
The purpose of the Climate Survival Communications Group is to bring together communications professionals and Climate Change experts to forge a strategic, effective and comprehensive communications plan that persuades many more Americans to demand action NOW from elected officials and those in positions of power to meaningfully reduce GGSs and to chart a new course of action for how we live, work, recreate and grow our economy. The aim is to change the message and the messengers, as well as the means of messaging, to persuade the many who believe Climate Change is real —but for whom it is not yet personally felt as threatening — that is existential. To them. This cohort — easily reachable as a group who pays attention to contemporary issues, and weighs their consequences — is key to spurring decision makers to action. They are key to collectively raising our voices to a level at which which decision makers hear “Fix This, or else”, and invoking the myriad of solutions so many are working on but for whom implementation is a continuing frustration. As the clock ticks.
WHAT WE PROPOSE
We propose to develop through trusted local NGOs a regionally significant program to strategically increase effective communications about the immediate threats of Climate Change, activate citizens, and engage decision makers at the ‘Grass Roots’. The program will have four phases: 1) Organizing the NGO managers; 2) Developing proven messages to activate citizens; 3) Designing or engaging a citizen activation program; and 4) Implementing and adjusting the program.
Phase 1. Assemble the management group of NCOs to be engaged in the long run for discerning and developing the communication messaging, and the activism necessary to make it effective. We intend to recruit 6 leading regional NGOs to our effort. The NGOs will form a joint venture to manage the project, with a first meeting anticipated to occur in early summer, 2020.
Phase 2. In developing the Activation Messages, assemble a Messaging Leadership Group (MLG) group to retain research groups, and collaborate on focus groups and polling across the region. The MLG will meet to discuss research firms and draft a research proposal, review draft instruments, conduct opinion research, analyze what was learned, develop draft messaging, field test, and draft final messaging.
Phase 3. Once effective Activation Messages have been developed, a Grass Roots Activation Plan and Recruitment process will be developed, including message training and outreach program.
Phase 4. Full activation of the messaging and messengers to address the middle cohort — “the Concerned” — and monitor and make adjustments