Why isn’t climate change a bigger issue in the upcoming elections in the USA and Australia? It’s barely an issue at all, and in the recent UK election, it was also rarely mentioned.
In order to avoid catastrophic climate change it’s essential that we act now, but that small fact hasn’t stopped it slipping down and off the list of what’s important to the majority of voters.
The problem can’t be with the issue’s importance. The evidence is all there, and it’s terrifying. Climate change is without a doubt the single biggest threat the human race has faced since the last ice age.
Maybe the real issue is with the wording, because ‘climate change’ just doesn’t sound that bad.
Every night I go to sleep, and every morning I wake up and the climate has changed. It’s called the weather.
Now if a corporation is having trouble selling a product, do they give up? Maybe they do eventually, but they try almost everything before that and step one is to rebrand.
Which involves altering very little apart from a product’s appearance, and hoping that’s enough.
It’s why Kentucky Fried Chicken is now ‘KFC’, British Petroleum is ‘BP’ and Justin Timberlake left NSYNC and got a haircut. You need to check out some of the old photos – he looked like a sheep.
So instead of ‘climate change’ what about we call it ‘extreme disasters happening right now’, ‘massive worldwide death machine’ or ’crazy killer weather’?
You might not care about stopping ‘climate change’, but I’m sure most of us want to stop ‘crazy killer weather’.
These new titles also have the added benefit of being exactly what will happen if we continue to do so little.
Another problem is that most of us only care about what’s happening day to day, and not at all about anything that hasn’t happened yet on a big enough scale to really effect us, no matter certain it seems.
In order for us to start acting on climate change then, maybe we need to tell a few lies.
Advertising does lie to us all the time. The only difference with this issue is that instead of trying to convince us to buy stuff we don’t need and is often very harmful to us, by jazzing up the campaign against climate change, we’d be saving the planet and ourselves.
So let’s rename climate change: ‘lower energy bills’, ‘higher superannuation’, and ‘healthier children for generations to come’.
Who doesn’t want those things? Best of all – they’re not even lies! Switching to a clean energy future, after a short transition period, would result in all those things.
They are pretty involved and complicated concepts though, and if more people had the concentration spans to understand the benefits of tackling climate change in the first place, well we wouldn’t be in this mess.
Maybe then, in order that something is done when it needs to be, which is right now, we do need to actually start telling a few lies. So we hit the population right square in the hottest topics on any given news day – celebrity culture, immigration and sport.
And we rename climate change: ’Bieber Kardashian sex tape’, ‘stop immigration’, or ‘save football season’.
If we started selling the ‘Bieber Kardashian sex tape online’ we’d raise millions in a few days, all to stop climate change.
Or if we set up a charity to ‘stop immigration’ we’d have millions of dollars in moments.
And you know those charity muggers that seem to have taken over every pedestrian thoroughfare? The ones trying to make a living and save the world, who are only slightly less hated than parking attendants and terrorists?
Imagine if they were trying to stop climate change, but we called it ‘saving football season’. Who wouldn’t want to save football season?
They’d still be just as annoying, but instead of a few thousand dollars, I’m sure they’d collect billions.
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.
His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ features true stories from his time as a FIFO worker and is available now.