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5 tips for great climate change communication

More people than ever are talking about climate change. But if organisations and brands want to truly engage and mobilise people to take action, there is a need to balance the call for urgency in a time of crisis while still inspiring hope that we can make a difference.


Head of Post Consumerism Natasha Parker and Director of Communications Charlotte Zamboni shared their insights on effective climate change communication with Charity Comms Conference delegates earlier this year. 

Global Action Plan's 5 dos and don'ts for communicating climate change


couple sharing an umbrella in the rain and a couple not sharing an umbrella, one is dry and the other is being rained on

Do assume people are compassionate and show them they are. 

Don't feed the misperception that people are selfish.

People care more than we think they do.    

If people think others are selfish, they’re more likely to feel alone and less likely to take action themselves. But if we can help people to see that others care as much as they do, they will feel less alone and more supported in getting involved.  


Hand palm up with heart above it - do and hand palm up with coins - don't

Do motivate through compassion.

Don't motivate through self-interest.

Motivating through compassion builds the sense of everyone having shared goals. Stories that are driven by the desire to help people and planet reinforce this. 

Motivating through self-interest only makes people think that others are ‘out for themselves’ and fuels expectations of hidden agendas.   


Do - mystery person, question mark on generic avatar person and simple line illustration of Greta Thunberg - don't

Do show unexpected role models.

Don't show only the role models we already know care.

Unexpected role models help build the sense of more people caring than we think, as well as reaching out to wider audiences.  

Everyone can play their part in tackling the climate crisis, and we need them to. Seeing people we might not expect taking action could inspire others and empower them to realise that anyone can get involved.  


Person voting - do and person recycling - don't

Do acknowledge the wider system and show collective action. 

Don’t only show individuals taking lone action.   

Encourage progress, not perfection. The onus should be on the systems that need to change.  

A focus on individuals taking lone action isn’t helpful – avoid putting responsibility and blame on the individual, and champion collective action. Real change can’t happen without system change.  


do - line illustration of the Earth and Don't - line illustration of melting Earth

Do show solutions happening now. 

Don’t only talk about how bad things are. 

In order to inspire action, we need hope and inspiration – evidence that the work has begun, that people are taking climate action and that it’s worth acting on because change can still happen. 

By amplifying stories about progress, possibility and the people committed to change, we can build hope and movements, and galvanise action. 

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