“What if it’s all a hoax and we’ve created a better world for nothing?” - Naomi Klein.
SITCH BREAKDOWN & A POST TRUTH CRISIS
Trump’s abandonment of the Paris Climate Agreement, reinforced a post-truth crisis that stretches far beyond environmental conservation, something our very own Ben & Jerry’s had something to say about.
Blunt denial of reality on this scale has people entering a confusing series of conversational analysis, forcing us to question and dig deeper into these claims. But in the haze of post-truth, young people are finding it hard to know what to do about climate change.
Members of our Love Network said:
“So much of our media is driven by a capitalist agenda, climate change isn’t something that is of enough interest to people to get enough clicks and sell enough papers. Therefore it won’t be put on the agenda until it is a capitalist issue and we are a long way away from that.”
“The conversation around climate change doesn’t centre around the now. The way it is communicated is often in this very lofty, very inaccessible hard to understand concept. It’s too big, we are not going to be able to fix it. It’s an overwhelming concept.”
“Young people care about the environment and we’re all happy to do our bit to help, but there’s a feeling like that’s not going to be enough. We need a more drastic solution, but we don’t know what that is.”
On the flipside, members of Young Friends of Earth, who are actively trying to combat climate change have said:
“Business as usual has us all on course for environment, economic and social collapse. This cannot continue. Alternatives are available, and are being implemented across Europe; from feed-in tariffs facilitating community owned expansion of renewables, to the creation of thousands of jobs in the sector outstripping employment in fossil fuels as the industry declines and becomes increasingly precarious.”
We already know that youth care about human rights and climate change is a human rights issue. Sustainable living development goals for 2030 address issues from poverty and hunger to reduced inequalities and peace. But to reach these goals, a healthy environment is needed, with the ultimate goal being a culture that promotes equality in all forms.
THE COLLECTIVE IMAGINATION COMEBACK
Phrases like ‘over the brink’, ‘irreversible’ and ‘ losing battle’ are regularly thrown about especially in the context of post-truth naysayers. But, those fighting the good fight to accelerate the transition out of our fossil fuel era, refuse to play the blame game or succumb to shock paralysis. Instead, they insist on the essentials of remaining hopeful and humanising the issue to encourage sparks of unconventional thinking:
“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take the responsibility for making it so.” Noam Chomsky.
Yes, our planet’s seemingly impending destruction is serious, but there’s room to play, stay optimistic and it’s more essential now than ever that we harness our imaginations to solve the unimaginable.
Young people value brands that are authentic, match their beliefs and educate them. How can brands help youth apathy by explaining a serious situation in a way that is simple, understandable or fun? Team Ben & Jerry’s does just this, showing the positive impact their work has on the world and painting the picture of a future that young people want to work towards and become a part of.
Brands need to optimise their place within the world with a purpose toward sustainability, committing to long term thinking that has positive environmental benefits. As marketers, we need to ask, how can our brands actively participate and collaborate in the climate change resistance movement and make positive steps toward a sustainable future, for now and for generations to come?