Why #ClimateOptimist makes me want to cry
Yesterday afternoon, my Twitter feed suddenly filled with garish 80’s-home-computer style graphics urging me to “Opt-in to be a #ClimateOptimist!”.
“‘Ello?” I asked myself and did some clicking. More hi-viz colours, more flashing slogans, some nice T-shirts, not much else. My heart sank.
Not because I’m a pessimist, no, quite the opposite. I’m a committed, if quietly pragmatic, optimist.
My problem is the answer to the fundamental question “Who is this for?”, which appears to be “People like me (but maybe a bit more tolerant of childish text fonts).” But I already get it. I don’t matter.
What does it say to the consumer on the high street on a Saturday afternoon? What does it say to the product designer choosing materials for the product those consumers are buying? What does it say to the policy maker deciding on transport investment, building standards or energy subsidies?
Not a lot. Nothing, in fact.
This is vitally important, because it is these people we need to speak to – the people who we must persuade to make different decisions to the ones they normally make. And to do that we need to translate Sustainability into a form that means something to them. Rattling slogans around the Sustainability echo-chamber is just a waste of time and effort.