What’s most likely to change the mind of someone who doesn’t think climate change is happening: strong science? first-hand accounts? comedy? sarcasm? swearing? Maybe so, if some of the unorthodox climate change messages making the internet rounds right now are to be believed.
1. Comedy: Over at the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media, Bud Ward says
humor may be the silver bullet, the key to unlocking the communication brick walls standing in the way of that more informed citizenry so critical in a democracy.
Most of the piece focuses on stand-up economist Yoram Bauman, whose material includes climate change, as well as economics and politics. But Ward also points out Stephan Colbert’s Climate Catfight and The Simpsons – a topic we’ve covered before.[/module]
2. Swearing: At almost 150,000 YouTube views, this “rap video” hasn’t exactly gone viral but it’s getting its fair share of attention, particularly in the unabashedly geeky circles I frequent. This version is “clean” but the full, extended version includes the f-word (and, no, I’m not referring to “feedback”) and other swearing.
3. Sarcasm: Finally, the Washington Post has published a scathingly sarcastic op-ed piece by Bill McKibbon, author and founder of 350.org, which advises readers NOT – under any circumstances – to connect extreme weather events of the past year to climate change.
It’s far smarter to repeat to yourself, over and over, the comforting mantra that no single weather event can ever be directly tied to climate change. There have been tornadoes before, and floods—that’s the important thing. Just be careful to make sure you don’t let yourself wonder why all these records are happening at once: why we’ve had unprecedented megafloods from Australia to Pakistan in the last year. Why it’s just now that the Arctic has melted for the first time in thousands of years. Focus on the immediate casualties, watch the videotape from the store cameras as the shelves are blown over. Look at the anchorman up to the chest of his waders in the rising river.
McKibben mentions at least half a dozen record-breaking weather events from the past year. But you get the idea.
Honestly, I can just imagine climate scientists everywhere cringing as they read McKibben’s piece. And I’m not convinced that anyone except climate scientists and hard-core geeks will be impressed with rappers in lab coats spouting words like “feedback.” But, as Ward points out: “After all, not much else has worked so well that humor should be denied its opportunity.” Add sarcasm and swearing to the list.