How can we change the conversation about climate change? Activist and thinker George Marshall has an idea or two, and shared them with the Guardian’s George Monbiot at a Guardian Live event in London this week
We’re all hardwired to ignore climate change: the issue is impossibly slippery and open to bias, and political tribalism has been a catastrophe for those trying to tackle it, according to social change activist and leading climate change thinker, George Marshall.
Speaking to Guardian columnist George Monbiot at a Guardian Live event in London this week, Marshall said that while much of the world still denies or ignores the obvious impacts of climate change, there are some simple ways to go about changing public opinion.
Politicisation has been a catastrophe for climate change
“We will not win on this issue until we have equal representation and diversity of people demanding action,” he said. “What the election showed us is that half the British population is voting for conservative parties for whatever reason. Are we just going to disregard those people, pretend they don’t exist? Or are we going to reach across to them … and get them on board?”
Unlike Naomi Klein, Marshall is wary of framing the debate in terms of left and right; creating a potentially Manichean divide with climate activism on one side and Neoliberalism on the other. “We need to fight against some forms of the economy at the moment, but I’m not persuaded that there was some kind of golden age when we were so cooperative and socially minded,” he said. “It will always be a bad time to deal with climate change – part of the reason for that is that we’re all involved in it.”
I don’t think there’s any fundamental reason why climate change should belong to one political world view or another.
Marshall believes the climate change movement must overcome political tribalism and find an inclusive narrative to build a collective identity for people, whatever their values. “It’s become part of people’s political identity whether they believe in climate change or not, but I don’t think there’s any fundamental reason why climate change should belong to one political worldview or another,” he said. “This is not an issue where we can have some kind of vanguardist approach – it’s far too big for that.”
Press link for more: Dominic Bates | theguardian.com