My notes here summarize some main points of the article I’ve linked below – and add some of my own thoughts:
The article I’ve linked below says that – although 70% of the public is worried about the climate – this has not translated into real organizing. Instead of playing politics (nice words and political wheeling-dealing, but falling short of making the bold changes that are necessary, the article says we need to deepen the public’s concern with a profound “change of heart.”
Instead of “transactional” politics, we need “transformative” politics. Without a profound change of heart we’ll be stuck with ineffective technological and accounting gimmicks such as “carbon capture and storage,” “carbon offsets,” “net neutral,” etc. All of those fail to actually REDUCE the burning of fossil fuels. The kinds of policy gimmicks that mainstream politicians (and some non-profit organizations) favor will NOT lead to significant reductions in fossil fuel burning. They are DISTRACTIONS from what we really need to do.
Also, many of the federal politicians who do propose remedies focus on tax breaks for climate-polluting companies who promise to reduce their pollution, so the polluting businesses win anyway. Also, politicians commonly propose targets for carbon reductions that are far into the future (after they have left office) and with reductions that are far less than we need.
“Democrat” Joe Manchin has made millions of dollars from coal companies and is absolutely committed to protecting coal companies. Yet the Senate Democrats have been allowing him to continue chairing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senate Democrats and President Biden have allowed him to seriously whittle down – and finally block – Biden’s Build Back Better Act.
The whole political process is trapped in the “wheeling-dealing” mentality instead of the “change of heart” that the article I’ve linked below is recommending. After laying out the kind of analysis I’ve offered above, the article says we need to organize to promote compassion, as the end of this article says:
To paraphrase activist Catherine Abreu, working on climate change may be called a fight, but underneath, it constitutes an act of love. … Rather than trying to motivate others in the 70% group through facts and logic, I need to listen with compassionate curiosity to their stories and be emotionally authentic when offering my own.
Beyond my own behavior, climate advocacy campaigns need to become less transactional and more transformational. Fortunately, various models are available for having conversations designed primarily to establish relationships rather than to persuade skeptics. For example, the core of “deep canvassing” is an exchange of personal stories that then connects to a specific action. Climate advocates would do well to consider such approaches, shifting the focus of their public outreach from heads to hearts. Doing so could make all the difference in whether those already alarmed or concerned are moved to actively protect whom or what they love.
Here is the article: