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The recent extreme temperatures and rainfall have raised many alarm bells. As I write this, Phoenix has endured 110°F (~43°C) temperatures for two consecutive weeks with no sign of relief in sight. The water temperatures near Miami are at a record high at 98°F (~37°C) and Vermont just had a once-in-a-century rainfall that most recently happened only two years ago when Hurricane Irene hit. The US isn’t alone in these events so why aren’t we all alarmed? It might be a messaging problem.

There will always be those that deny that our planet is in crisis, pointing to one event that seemingly offsets substantial evidence to the contrary. But my point is about the planet as a whole. Why are we not all panicking and doing whatever we can right now to try to undo some of the damage that’s been done?

As a communications professional, I wanted to understand why many of us seem to be so blasé about climate change. We counsel our clients that key messages must be clear and concise and have a strong call to action. 

Maybe we are too overwhelmed by what is happening, maybe we don’t know what to do, or maybe we don’t understand how an action we take to improve things impacts the climate? I started thinking about this when I saw the “Arnold” documentary on Netflix. The former California governor talked about how nobody cares about climate change but they do care about pollution, which is one of the causes of climate change. I think he has a point.

It might be possible that we need to break down the issues of climate change into more measurable actions so we can begin to see an impact. Many local and federal governments urge their citizens to do X but how often do we see the impact of our actions? 

We work with tech companies and many of them are trying to make a difference. We need more attention on those companies and more investments in them. In April of this year, a new $60+ billion climate tech alliance was formed by VC companies with backing from the UN. It’s a good start.

I want to do my part – I think many of us want to do our part – but I think we need better messaging to help move us to action and help each of us see we are making a difference. The changes are already alarming and it’s time to do something.

Janel Steinberg

Janel is Vice President, US, at Liberty Communications

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