"UnPRoven science stuff"

Climate change could really use some positive PR right now.

President Obama announced new steps last week to cut carbon emissions, promote energy efficiency and boost solar power. “There are cost-effective ways to tackle climate change and create jobs at the same time,” he said. The president added that 300 organizations and companies have pledged to expand their use of solar energy, which he noted is getting cheaper and easier to use.

climate_change-ssk_58574635There’s overwhelming scientific evidence that humans are contributing to climate change.  But many Americans aren’t buying it. In a January Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, “just 27% of respondents said addressing climate change should be an absolute priority this year, with 41% saying that it could be delayed until next year and 29% saying it shouldn’t be pursued.”  The same poll revealed a sharp difference in the way Republicans and Democrats view the issue, with 40% of Democrats said addressing climate change should be an absolute priority, compared with 14% of Republicans.  A Public Policy Polling survey last year found 38% of Americans believe global warming is a hoax.

As part of the public relations war being waged on the issue, BarackObama.com has devoted pages and pages of Republican politicians’ quotes which ridicule how they’ve been ridiculing climate change.  A small sample includes Sen. Marco Rubio in an interview with CNN this week, saying that the president was “not a meteorologist” and “it’s enormous stretch to say that every weather incident that we now read about–or the majority of them–are attributable to human activity;” and Rep. Dan Benishek. who is also a physician, saying that climate change is “all baloney,” “just some scheme,” and “unproven science stuff.”

Lately, most nightly news reports lead with weather disasters throughout in the country.  And as we know, our local weather has been pretty bad in recent years.  Scientists with no political agendas say we’ve been hurting the environment for years and we’re starting to pay the price.  Climate change is happening and it’s time to get the public to believe it so real action can be taken.  Maybe a good PR campaign will help.  Your thoughts?




29 thoughts on “"UnPRoven science stuff"

  1. Samantha

    Climate change is in need of a public relations campaign. The key though is that the campaign targets a wide audience. I’ve found that a lot of pr initiatives can be quite polarizing and restrictive. The public is in dire need of a campaign that really personalizes the issue of climate change and shows more tangible, real world consequences of it. Charts and stats about the polar Ice caps melting isn’t going to drive the point home for most people.

  2. ninavasiljevic

    Politics aside, global warming is a real issue. Everyone who says that it’s a hoax is simply denying the facts and trying to avoid the topic, because people don’t want to deal with it. A really good PR campaign is necessary in this situation to motivate people to do something and make a change.

  3. Katherine Hammer

    Global warming has always been a big issue to talk about. By this I mean that many people do not understand exactly what it is, or how it is continuously progressing. I think that many people are in denial that the climate is changing, because it is not happening right in front of people’s eyes in a quick manner. Our society has become one where if it doesn’t capture our attention in two minutes we don’t listen. I feel that is the same way with global warming, people just don’t understand what is happening. I think that people need to start realizing that it is only going to get worse if we do not do anything about it. We have to start making a lot of changes to help protect the environment, which will help protect us all in the long run.

  4. Zachary Kizer

    Any PR campaign would be beneficial towards the reception of climate change. However it is going to be difficult to convince Americans that there needs to be social change without people believing there is some political agenda behind it. It is important to separate climate change facts from weather reporters daily forecast. A common misconception people have is that they think it should be getting warming, it is imperative that people understand that the climate is changing.

  5. Mike Iadevaia

    Climate change is in a serious need for a PR campaign, absolutely. This campaign needs to cover that this is not a political issue, it’s a global one. We can sit here all day and say that this is all just “natural;” however, when you have record breaking sea level increases and an 800 year carbon dioxide high, perhaps natural isn’t an appropriate word to use. This campaign needs to educate, warn, and promote the idea that climate change is happening and we are the cause of it.

  6. Marisa

    I agree that a strong PR campaign is exactly what is needed to help the public understand the science behind global warming. After all of the evidence that clearly shows the effects of our use of the planet, something needs to be done to stop it. This is not a political issue, and should not be an argument between Democrats and Republicans. A PR campaign targeted towards raising awareness about global warming will educate the public so that real action can be taken.

  7. Olga Varnavskaya

    PR campaigns would be very helpful in bringing awareness that we can’t just consume the gifts of Nature without giving back and taking care of it. It’s also a must that government and educational institutions take big part in the process of informing and educating people (especially of a young age) about sustainability and ecology. And along with it people need to be taught to take care of themselves, of their own health. Otherwise it’s too naive to expect that a person, who doesn’t take care of his own body will be able to take care of the nature and the environment.
    The process of changing the mentality should have been started already yesterday, as it will take decades to get the shift in our society’s mentality. We got used to the particular pattern of unsustainable life style and the habits are known to be hard to change. Let’s be honest, as we speak about the climate change, the pollution, etc., how many of us close the faucet while brushing the teeth, refuse to take those unpractical, undurable disposable plastic bags when making a purchase, don’t forget to shut off the light when leaving the room or when it’s not needed, separate garbage for recycling, refuse to use bottled water, and so on…

  8. Kelly Farrington

    I think for a PR campaign on climate change to be effective, it would have to focus on the more immediate effects. I think that even for the people who do believe in climate change, the issue isn’t that important to them because they think that by the time effects take place they’ll be gone. People are selfish, so in my opinion a successful PR campaign would have to show how people will be impacted by their own actions and not just what will happen in 100 years.

  9. Kendall Berman

    I think it’s fairly ridiculous to say that humans don’t have an affect on the fairly obvious climate change; it’s very ignorant.

    I think a good pr campaign would help bring the issue to the forefront but I think most people are gung ho about their beliefs and I think it would take a tremendous amount of effort and time to change their opinions, attitudes and beliefs. Think about Al Gore’s documentary, despite all the hard evidence people were still saying it was a hoax.

    It’s the same concept when it comes to food and diet. Everyone knows that fast food is detrimental to your health, but they still eat it and the fast food companies still make billions. People are ignorant and it would take really good pr to change that.

  10. Kayla Marzo

    It’s absolutely true that global warming has been an issue for years. However, there have been only so little efforts to help raise awareness and solve the problem. A PR campaign would be in its best interest to really educate people on this issue.

  11. Kristin Neuman

    Climate change has been a problem for years, and there have always been the skeptics. Many people don’t think that it has anything to do with the way people are living, or some just don’t want to admit it. However, there is evidence that human involvement has something to do with it. I think it would be helpful to have a good PR campaign put in place to educate people about what’s going on. Like with many other things, there would still be some skeptics and people that wouldn’t consider the facts, but it’s worth the effort. If anyone learns anything, I think it’s worth it.

  12. Dan Savarino

    Global warming has been an issue that has been discussed for a very long time. It seems like now, with all of this constant weather change people are starting to realize it’s actually a problem. A PR campaign would be helpful. It would help educate those who feel it is a fake problem. Support it with facts, data, and get the word out there. All it will do is become mutually beneficial to the world and those that live in it.

  13. Sydney Myers

    Global warming has been a seriously problem for years, and although it is addressed often, a large action plan hasn’t been taken. I think a solid PR plan would do wonders for global warming and I don’t know why it hasn’t been done yet. People take the world for granted, and we need to learn how to improve our daily life.

  14. Christine W.

    I think a PR campaign for weather changes is needed. It is amazing to me to see how many American don’t take these changes as signs of what is ahead. We have been damaging Mother Nature for years and we will soon see the price. I think that visuals will help people understand more of what will happen in the future. If congress got together, maybe they could show the weather changes over the years on their state website. This will give people something to actually vision instead of the weather man talking about degree changes. Something needs to be done fast.

  15. Kim Gray

    Climate change is absolutely a priority. People that do not see that is in denial or just do not care to acknowledge the issue. Us humans do abuse the environment and we are slowly but surely paying for it now. I think by creating a strong PR campaign based on this issue with supporting facts will def. create more awareness and more strategies will be created and hopefully implemented.

  16. Brittany Witter

    I agree that views on climate change are very mixed among the public! But u think it is clear that humans are abusing the environment and many believe that will have no repercussions. I think more strong, factual, and emotional PSAs should be developed to inform the public of the cause and effect of this issue.

    1. James V. D'Ambrosio

      Speaking of a strong PSA campaign, I would take a page from the NYC Department of Health for their somewhat graphic/controversial ads showing what happens when you smoke for years. They do shock, but I think in this case people need that. Perhaps a wildfire leaping a highway and destroying someone’s prized Hummer?

  17. jmmcphail

    I’m not going to get in to whether or not climate change is a real thing because anyone who says it isn’t is deliberately ignoring facts so they can go on abusing resources and feeling okay about it. Debating such a topic will only make me angry. Instead, I will just address PR and Climate Change.

    Climate Change would probably benefit from a well thought out and unique PR campaign. The problem is that no PR campaign done through grass roots and small green technology companies is a match for the billions in PR and marketing the big oil and fossil fuel companies would spend – and do spend – to cover up scientific research and try and prove that fossil fuels are sustainable, more reliable, and all around better. Recently they have been plugging natural gas as “the fuel of the future” despite fracking destroying communities. And in the early 2000’s when California legally enacted a green initiative to cut carbon emissions in half in the state over a period of a few years, car companies initially created electric cars, but oil companies lobbied relentlessly to repeal the legislation and repossessed all electric cars in the state of California (see “Who killed the Electric Car Documentary ).

    The issue right now is not that the green industry won’t grow, and it’s not that people aren’t interested in it. It’s that the competitive industries will not let it grow. And since most politicians are all in bed with said competition, it has become a political issue instead of a scientific one. So instead, we pose green technology as helpful to another hotbed topic – the economy. We should tout green technology as helpful because it will create jobs for white collar and blue collar individuals in industries such as engineering new technology and retrofitting old buildings and infrastructure with said new technology. I think green technology would make many gains if we stopped talking about climate change and started talking about the business and entrepreneurial opportunities that the right seem to love so much.

  18. akof123

    I think that a public relations awareness campaign is definitely in need. Global warming is very important and if more of the public was aware then perhaps they would try and take action to try and prevent it.

  19. Avalon Bohunicky

    Several years ago, the idea of “global warming” has millions worried that the end was near. However, less and less people are believing this due to the weather. Bitter winters and colder summers cause people to believe that this theory is highly unlikely. However, it is crucial that we focus more on using solar energy to help conserve and protect our earth. The weather has been abnormal and chaotic the past few months more than ever before. Many natural disasters and irregular changes in temperature have prompted people to believe that the climate is indeed changing. It is evident that it is happening, and we must take the necessary precautions to help protect the environment.

  20. Geena Pandolfi

    I think that people who don’t believe in climate change are ignorant. Even after the winter we had people don’t believe, they usually say ‘see it isn’t getting warmer.’ I think that the climate change could use more than a good PR campaign, however to bring out awareness, it is a good idea. People need hard facts and data when it comes to climate change or else they don’t believe it.

  21. ALTernate Ears

    I think Obama is doing a good thing by trying to tackle the climate issue. While I am skeptical of most “global warming facts”, I do believe it’s an issue that needs to be addressed. We are definitely changing the way everything “works” on earth, and it should be a slight focus of attention for a bit. Yes, the world might have “larger” issues to deal with, but this is the earth we’re talking about… Isn’t that the root of everything?

  22. Laura

    I agree a PR campaign would show people that dramatic climate changes. I was in traffic today and noticed every driver around me was smoking a cigarette. It is heartbreaking to see so many people are not thinking of how they are affecting the world. We need to show people how to make changes in order to help the world become a safer place.

  23. Hector Bonilla

    I’ve heard all types of excuses and theories about climate change, from both sides of the aisle, but indeed the difference generally falls between the political right and left and therein lies the problem. The issue has become so tied up in politics that many refuse to listen to evidence provided by someone “not on their side.” That said, a dedicated PR campaign providing a universal, moderated message could perhaps turn the tables. One of the fathers of public relations, Edward Bernays, believed that the field was precisely the tool needed to combat mod mentality. While his views may have been originally founded in elitism, PR has been shown to be able to have a mediated affect when applied to irrationality of the mob. I’m sure many companies whose bottom line depends on the weather being predictable can come together to produce a campaign to address human contribution to climate change.

  24. LaChele Prophet

    I think a PR campaign would be a great idea to educate people on climate change. Climate change is a big issue because the earth is affected by many things we do to live on this planet. How to go about doing such a campaign I am not really sure, but it is definitely needed.

  25. jhasten1

    I feel it is vital for people to be educated on the situation, whether they believe it is true or not. I think a PR campaign would be a nice thing to do on this matter, but is it really that necessary? I mean, there are documentaries, thousands of articles and media coverage and discussions on this particular subject. It is such a hot topic and it is constantly being blown into everyone’s face that have any connection with the media almost daily, whether they want to read or hear about it or not. I feel the only way it will be effective is if it could persuade people who are ignorant about it. Otherwise it would be something that just adds to the massive pile of all the other stuff written on climate change.

  26. Catherine Benny

    I agree that we’ve had a lot of weather-related problems over the past few years and I think a PR campaign would be a good idea, but I’m not sure how exactly an agency would go about creating one.Promoting a broad, hot button issue, such as climate change requires one to appeal to a variety of different audiences as well as understand and research a lot of different viewpoints. Such a campaign would not be impossible, but would indeed be a herculean task.

  27. chrisswenson2014

    I think that the “Call Out the Climate Change Deniers” is an interesting campaign in itself for Barack Obama’s team. There was a pretty clever idea behind that.

    However, as far as for the general public, a more informative campaign that highlights “what’s in it for me?” (or rather, “what’s at stake for me?”) is extremely necessary. The absurd level of denial, and even more absurd level of people who don’t understand because they’re simply uninformed.

  28. James V. D'Ambrosio

    Jeff, you’re spot on. A strong, targeted PR campaign is sorely needed to clear up misconceptions and help people wake up to the reality of overwhelming scientific evidence that is irrefutable. Consider the NY area: Hurricane Sandy; before that, Irene; a snowstorm 1 week after Sandy; later that winter, a 30-inch snow storm in many places on Long Island; later that summer, 11 inches of rain in the month of June; tornadoes in Brooklyn the past several years; the past winter season with extreme, prolonged periods of cold and snow. No need to go on. Apparently many people are either woefully uninformed, in denial, or both. Sometimes PR has to educate. A campaign of that sort is long overdue.


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