“The medium is the message.”
- Marshall McLuhan
We are in a time of unfiltered information, it makes it increasingly difficult to believe or trust what you read online. The rise of misinformation and disinformation is partially because journalists no longer cull and correct all the information circulated to the masses. We’ve also become desensitized “bad information,” according to the National Observer.
But climate change has a communication problem and has for a very long time. Truth cannot compete with viral lies. Why did pictures of conservative politicians posing in front of gas pumps in protest of the nationwide carbon tax receive more traction than federal climate action policies? It’s likely because such tweets are tangible and simplistic. They’re also click-bait, which keeps them rolling on and passing through countless social media channels. Whereas climate adaptation and mitigation is often communicated in ways that are too abstract or scientific for public understanding.
However, this is slowly beginning to change as Canadians begin to witness and personally feel the effects of climate change (think flooding, wildfires, rising sea levels, drought, etc.) Check out this excellent analysis by the National Observer about communications, climate leadership, and our federal climate action plan.