Addressing Climate Change
8 min read.
The problem concerning climate change today affects you, me and everyone and everything that lives and breathes in this world.
The truth of the matter is that this problem is really old news (not fake news, Mr. Trump).
Speaking of politics, the topic of climate change was, ironically, jump-started by someone else who once worked at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
I refer to former US Vice-President Al Gore. Since leaving office, Mr. Gore has, on many occasions, warned the world of its fate as a result of carbon emissions. Gore even produced a film, An Inconvenient Truth, to make his point.
His research clearly showed that there was an increasing ‘planetary emergency’ due to global warming. Acting as the common citizen (and not the politician), Mr. Gore’s arguments illustrate how climate change is now a personal issue for everyone today. This was his goal – to voice his concern and motivate all of humanity to identify and implement solutions to the climate crisis.
Fast-forward to 2019, and we see more plastic waste destroying our beautiful, blue oceans, killing bird and marine life, littering our beaches, and now entering our food chain.
Mahatma Ghandi once said, ‘You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.’
If only Ghandi were alive today to make another profound statement that would inspire the entire world to pick up the pace on solving climate change.
Perhaps Ghandi’s noble thinking has been reincarnated in the small but confident voice of a 15-year-old activist, Greta Thunberg, who took the world by storm in September 2019 at the UN COP24 climate talks. Her straightforward style of speaking was directed at world leaders and assemblies, demanding immediate action. Even her fiery glance at President Trump when he entered the room managed to cut through the always-present political nonsense. The truth of the matter is that world leaders just talk the talk. They don’t understand the idea of actions speaking louder than words.
Apart from a Swedish teenager, who else can put pressure on governments to develop better solutions?
Why not pass the baton to the creative world of advertising? If a great ad can raise the profile (and fortunes) of a product or a brand, why can’t it do the same for climate control?
PICKING UP THE BATON
Advertising, known for communicating strong, powerful and effective messages to the world, can achieve results. Advertising can tap into the minds of humanity in the most proactive and intriguing ways so an objective can be achieved. That’s the art of Advertising 101.
When it comes to the future of our planet, we should not underestimate the power of giving voice to the message that we all need to take our responsibilities more seriously during these uncertain times.
In September 2019, adland in the UK did just this. It made its voice heard loud and clear with its environmental stand, ‘Create and Strike.’
In support of climate protest, a coalition of 150 agencies encouraged its members to walk out of their offices and onto the streets in central London, where they stood shoulder to shoulder with the youth-led climate strikes that mobilised an estimated four million people demanding tougher action from governments to combat climate change.
That day’s mission was to provide the opportunity for their voices to be heard – and to show how creativity can create change.
From this movement, more and more blue-chip companies, like Patagonia, Lush Cosmetics and Ben & Jerry’s followed suit by closing their doors to join the cause. The message taken away from this action was that it’s not business as usual when the planet is choking to death.
Looking at the bigger picture, advertising has allowed marketers and their brands to build loyal relationships with the people of the world. Since climate change affects the world, it is important that, rather than solely focusing on the bottom line, marketers show and act with greater empathy and join the effort to address the problem of climate change.
The point we’re making is that developing and launching a small campaign, which encourages people to give up drinking from plastic straws isn’t enough anymore. We expect more from our marketing companies.
So, did this movement achieve anything?
Yes; for one, it showed that adland has the courage to stand up and make a point. It also illustrated how such an unprecedented show of solidarity by an industry for the global climate emergency can make noise.
The only question now is how will it keep the momentum going?
A GLOBAL RESPONSE
We need a global response to this crisis. We need to use global resources to join this cultural movement so that governments will get the real picture of just how deeply climate change is going to affect our future. The marketers of the world need to provide their skills as some of these resources.
The relationships between brands and people must continue to grow closer and become more personal in order to secure a brighter and safer future.
The power of advertising can be used to better unify and articulate ways to come up with solutions to the climate crisis.
Similar to Al Gore and Greta Thunberg’s actions and words, the voice of the ad industry can’t be silenced until climate change is comprehensively addressed.