How to Create a Non-Partisan Climate Message

Partisan DivideWhen trying to inspire people to fight climate change, it seems like the obvious message would be, “Help protect our planet.” But in fact, that message can backfire – many people balk at being labeled as “environmentalist” or “green.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t support clean energy or care about pollution.
So how do we reach people who want to do their part but have a negative reaction to eco-speak? It’s all about the framing – finding a way to tailor the message so it’s personally relevant and meaningful.
This article in The Washington Post examines the issue in detail. Conservatives in particular bristle at environmental preaching, but they also resent being painted as uncaring. To address this ambivalence, we should focus on the values they identify with. In the case of saving energy, the message should be about reducing costs and being less wasteful. The important thing is to help them appreciate the benefits of taking action. The more people – regardless of political leanings – who understand that climate solutions are a win-win, the better off we’ll all be.

Want to Get Conservatives to Save Energy? Stop the Environmentalist Preaching

Chris Mooney, Contributor to The Washington Post
In San Diego, the solar rooftop market is booming. And no wonder: Electricity is expensive, but sunshine is plentiful – and it doesn’t hurt that California has shined its policy radiance on the solar industry. The city boasts more than 44,000 residential solar installations – and most strikingly, they’re not all owned by liberal do-gooders.
Not by a long shot.
Instead, as solar has become more popular, it has increasingly tapped into a base of more ideologically conservative customers, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy, a local nonprofit supporting clean power.
“When it was more of a fringe technology, you would see a natural gravitation towards the technology by people who are more liberal,” says Timothy Treadwell, a director at the center. “Now that solar is mainstream, that distinction, and that kind of self-selection, is pretty much gone from the market.”
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Image credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

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