Commentary, Environment

What the LGBTQ movement can teach us about fighting climate change

Joe Romm at Think Progress has a fine post this morning that highlights what the LGBTQ equality movement can teach us about combating climate change. Here’s Romm from “End climate silence: The most important thing you can do to fight global warming”:

“People often ask me what is the most important thing they can personally do bring about climate action. The answer is both simple and hard: Talk about climate change and its solutions with everyone you know a lot more than you are doing now.

The need to have more conversations about an uncomfortable subject is, I believe, one of two crucial messaging lessons the climate movement can learn from the LGBT community. The other is to focus on the immorality of inaction.

Even though ‘two in three Americans are either moderately or very interested in global warming,’ public opinion research finds that 70 percent of Americans ‘rarely or never discuss global warming with family or friends.’

The result, according to experts on climate communications at George Mason University (GMU) and Yale University, is a ‘spiral of silence’ in which ‘even people who care about the issue, shy away from discussing it because they so infrequently hear other people talking about it?—?reinforcing the spiral.’”

And here’s his conclusion:

“The kind of climate action we now need requires that we break this spiral, much the same way the LGBT community broke theirs.

A decade ago, many progressive politicians ran away from LGBT rights, and some even credit John Kerry’s 2004 loss to the issue. More than a decade later, we’ve seen a sharp swing in public (and political) support for LGBT rights. Many factors contributed to that shift, but winning communications strategy and tactics were key.

A central tactic was to get as many people as possible to start talking about LGBT issues. I’m not saying climate change and marriage equality are exact analogies since they aren’t?—?but turning the issue around did require people to talk about an uncomfortable subject because it mattered to them personally.

So let’s end climate silence now.”

Click here to read the entire post.

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