Monday this week saw the Climate Change – Has the Media Got It Right? debate, organised by One World Media and held in the Guardian’s offices.
In a panel of journalists, editors and communications officers, speaking to an audience of (mostly) journalists, editors and communications officers, it was the Solitaire Townsend, co-founder of communications agency Futerra, and Thomas Schultz-Jagow, Oxfam Communications Director, who made the biggest impressions.
Thomas spoke about the difficulties of getting the press to cover the human impacts of climate change that were happening now, and said he wanted to “take broadcasters along on a journey”, to give them Oxfam’s perspective on effects in countries such as India. With a phase that was much used throughout the evening, he said climate change news “is not sexy enough”.
Solitaire presented a perfectly PR-packaged idea on how climate change solutions should be presented in the media. She said currently we are “selling climate hell”: trying to motivate people to change their lifestyles through threats of distant catastrophes.
A better solution she claimed, was to “sell climate heaven”, in that we need to package environmentally-friendly lifestyles as fashionable, healthier, and more desirable.
In this clip which I recorded with her after the debate, she explains what Futerra does, and what she thinks the media should be doing.
It’s an appealing vision, and certainly anything which can reach people as yet little-inclined to change their lifestyle for the sake of the planet could be a help.
But it is just me, or does this commercialisation, glossing and potential trivialisation of the issue leave anyone else cold?