The Australian election loss is a massive blow, been sitting hard with me all weekend. The climate movement there did everything right, built up enormous momentum, shifted national narrative to make climate the top issue…and still lost. On top of Kenny’s win in Alberta last month, just when we need to be cutting carbon, it’s 5 more years of gunning the engine. Hope for change diminishes.
For those who want to give advice on how we could have messaged things differently, happy to hear it. Clearly we need help! But you need to know 2 things about “marketing” climate action:
- Product: No one really wants to hear what we have to say. One could say our ”product” is repulsive to the vast majority. It’s certainly not sexy or attractive. From “stop using so much fear” to “you’re creating more polarization”, to “you’re criticizing my lifestyle / job / province” etc, the fundamental challenge is it’s damn hard to market action of this nature at the scale required and the speed the science demands, in a hedonistic consumer culture steeped in 10,000 more fun things to be distracted by
- Resources: nonprofits have basically no advertising budget to send our “messaging” to people and voters. Almost zero. Our only way of reaching people is by either getting one article in the media (where there may be ten pro-resource pro-growth articles in the same issue…daily), or through begging our supporters to read and share something. That’s it. Ask anyone you know in a business what their marketing and sales spend will be and you’ll likely hear its anywhere from 20-50% of their budget. Not in nonprofits, we’re not funded to do advertising, which is “overhead” and frowned upon by donors.
Meanwhile, see below, fossil fuel interests spend at least $1 BILLION A YEAR on climate denial marketing. This is in addition to the $50M groups like CAPP in Canada or the Minerals Council in Australia spend annually. Or the $30M plus governments like Alberta or Canada under Harper spent. Or the $60M a coal billionaire just spent attacking the left in Oz. Or the HUNDREDS of millions oil companies spend on direct to consumer advertising, a year. Hmmmm, I wonder why their message is sticking so well?
If you want to offer support to the climate movement on how we win, please bring your ideas. To the doorstep.
Organize and get your hands dirty. Donate some real money, monthly. Maybe take one less cruise a year or mortgage a vacation property. Or better yet, support your kids to do it because the youth movement is one of the few bright spots we’ve got right now.
We’ve got 11 years left to reduce our emissions by 50%. We’re being outspent ten or 100 to one. Time is running out. Some of us are losing hope we can pull this off. Please help.