The Climate of the Debate: The Transition from Environmental Science to Communication Strategies

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Henry Cowles
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Environmentalism has become a special interest, separating itself from humans in order to defend the “natural”. Because of this separation, climate change has become a scientific, less relevant problem in the minds of the public when compared to other more pressing concerns like the health of the economy. Climate change deniers operate under this belief system and have resisted environmental regulations in order to safeguard economic security. In order to achieve bipartisan support for environmentalism, climate change will need to transcend the environmentalist values, demonstrating how humans are embedded in the Earth’s systems rather than separate from it. Functioning under this new paradigm, environmental activism ceases to be a threat to economic progress or a problem for distant “natural” spaces, but instead transforms into an opportunity to improve people’s lives. Climate change proponents must reframe climate change as a fundamentally human problem rather than a scientific and altruistic moral imperative. In order to make this transition, proponents will need humanistic communications strategies rather than more scientific discoveries.