I’d suggest that Choice and the community need to look beyond Climate Science and consider the average consumer.
The average consumer may or may not be concerned about the long term impacts of climate change. The average consumer is however going to be immediately affected by many of the suggested responses to Climate Change.
These include the possibility of,
- increased consumer costs,
- changes to taxation,
- the end to red meat as we know it,
- walking to work because we will no longer have motor vehicles,
- and for many loss of employment and community.
This is not about science. It is about fear of change and it’s consequences, real or imagined.
Consumers respond emotionally, on beliefs, habits, fears, etc.
Science does not trump emotion.
Marketing Science (a poor use of the word) relies on the ability of consumer responses to be predetermined and managed. It takes advantage of the emotional responses built into many consumers. This may be a hard concept for the more scientifically inclined to relate to. Most of us are emotional beings first, scientists optional.
Depending on viewpoint and data sets, between 20% and up to 40% of Australians do not accept doing more to avert Climate Change. I suspect that if the question is
would you pay more in taxes, or pay more for consumer goods and services, or give up certain consumer goods, or your job or career, or your children’s home/community and future job prospects to help mitigate Climate Change?
The statistics might change to show a greater percentage of consumers would be against doing more. Our recent Federal election outcomes support this observation.
Choice as an organisation and it’s community members can be inclusive of the concerns of those amongst us who are not scientifically motivated. To leave them behind in the discussion is for me not an option. Nor is it reasonable to expect any change in understanding from those of us less scientifically inclined by barrages of science. Many of us consumers default under pressure to seek input from trusted sources. Choice and it’s community has the power to develop that trust and use it for good, or trash it on the basis of over zealous scientific based argument and positioning.
Rather than set out to convert those consumers amongst us to support action on climate change. Perhaps first we all need to stop and listen to what their concerns are and why they fear the changes. The changes others demand in response to the often labelled “climate emergency”. And to listen without judgement, without criticism and critically empathetically, without attempting conversion.
If the community does not find ways to be more inclusive and take a more conciliatory approach, perhaps then Choice the Climate Activist will become the future.