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Climate Doomism: Is It Helpful or Harmful?

With the climate agenda at the forefront of most businesses, government bodies and now the general public, there has been an overwhelming amount of climate coverage. As much as this is music to most of our ears, as the urgent topic is finally getting the focus and attention it deserves, a lot of the news surrounding the climate is being framed in negative ways. So why is Doomism so harmful to the climate movement?

It Demotivates us: Research has shown that people who believe that climate change is irreversible and experience 'climate anxiety' as a result are a lot less motivated to act.

It De-legitimises us: Doomism is not representative of scientific consensus. It dismisses any demands made to governments (why act when it is already to late anyway?) It Reinforces 'alarmist' stereotypes and obscures long term strategic planning.

It Distorts our view: Doomism is immoral in assuming that it is already too late to act. In western societies, we have a responsibility to safeguard those most affected by our historical consumption and current unstainable practices .

So what to do instead?

Do focus on what is possible: Take action in your community and make sure to be vocal about your associations achievements. Activism work can inspire others to take action and be optimistic about the climate future.

Do be hopeful: Scientist are not suggesting that humans are going extinct anytime soon. However the science does say that if we act quickly, we can still fix the climate crisis and successfully adapt to the existing impacts.

Do be cautious with the media: Climate change news is almost exclusively framed in a negative light in order to grab the audience's attention. Scaremongering tactics has evolved us to pay more attention to harmful news in which news outlets abuse this for clickbait.

While it is necessary to be honest with the state of climate it is important to keep your audience positive and motivated. Of course some of the news being reported is going to have to have a negative tone due to the nature of the subject but it is important to stress that there is still room to act on both a political and individual level. As an association it is our job to inspire the people around us to take action in order to mitigate the effects.

CAFA has plentiful resources on our website to help aid our membership in their journey to net zero. We ourselves are still always learning and looking for ways to further our education and improve the resources available to others. If your own association has had any success stories or simply you found something inspiring to share let us know!

Source: Thanks to Jessica Kleczka, a climate psychologist, for sharing this impactful advice. To read more of Jessica's work head over to her Instagram page.


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