How to kill a planet
“positive framing and solutions journalism.”
Let’s lean into that. Because the reason climate activism is trapped in an infinite loop of inaction is the framing, in the manner of George Lakoff, is being chosen by the bad guys.
We accept a framing of the problem as “carbon emissions are driving climate change”. That shows us a pollution problem that requires a pollution control solution: regulation to compel self-regulation. Leave the problem makers in charge, but make them pay!
The public isn’t buying what climate activism is selling. Because we sense, intuitively, that pollution is not the problem and government is not the solution. So we ignore the words of anger that government needs to act. It does not.
What if climate activism expanded the framing, and started talking about “energy extraction from hydrocarbons is diminishing the habitats on earth in which modern humanity can keep ourselves ongoing”.
That shows us a choice of energy technology problem. That requires a new choice of new energy technologies solution.
The public knows we do not know how to do that. Not within the rubrics of our existing social contract for defining our economy as a market for allocating scarcity through the mechanisms of the market clearing price.
So we need a new definition of the economy, and a new social contract for defining the economy. That new social contract has to add in “the missing social architectures of agency by human beings” (Infra Adnan).
That’s the conversation at the vanguard of public discourse that climate activism needs to be activating. That’s the search for solutions that solutions journalism needs to be journaling.
Public discourse is not dead. It’s uninspired by the conversation of the day.
We need to change the conversation, to inspire discourse.