How to speak Climate Change?

How to speak Climate Change?

I am sure Climate Change isn’t a word that you are coming across right here right now. Since the time the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report was published on 9th August 2021, it has been there in all of our minds, at least I hope so.

In simple words, Climate Change is very real, is what the IPCC report states but it is still somewhat of a conspiracy theory or a hoax or even a ‘Green Scam’ ( the kind of stuff you see on the internet these days!), among a few. Communication is key here. Language doesn't necessarily have to matter but using ‘easy’ words while speaking, writing etc., can be important. Another way of effective and efficient communication is to focus on ways that will make people imagine almost instantly or visualize it in their mind like how when you hear a doughnut and instantly think of a sugar coated doughnut with chocolate syrup dripping from the sides. It really does paint a picture, doesn't it?

We humans often spend time thinking of what we could have done or we could do but not what we can do at this present moment to tackle climate change or save our planet. It’s about what we can do right now! This will also include breaking down certain words into phrases that we can relate to in the present moment.

Let's see some examples shall we? What are some common words that we hear about climate change or global warming or anything related to it? CO2 emissions, Methane emissions, Global Warming itself, Melting ice caps, Wildfire, Flash floods, Decarboznication, Carbonization, Net zero, Carbon-neutrality and the list goes on.

Now we can break this down in various ways. Let’s not get into the intricacies but just take a brief look at a few that commonly come up in reports, newspapers etc.  

  • Global warming which is actually the rising of temperatures around the world or overheating of our planet right now.
  • Emissions which are the spread of harmful gases into the air we are breathing right now.
  • Carbonization which is the increase in amount of carbon in the atmosphere right now 
  • Net-zero is similar to how we breathe: You breathe something out and you breathe something in. The balance in between which is happening right now.

The intention here is definitely not to cause fear. It is to create awareness and educate ourselves about the phenomenon happening around us that cannot be seen very vividly or felt instantly but is happening at the moment and also realising that we are all part of it, directly. If you look closely you will realise how we humans are more inclined towards  believing stuff that we can see and always depend on proof in order for us to fully believe in something which is of course necessary in some cases.

When I spoke to my Grandfather's sister who has been living in Bangalore for the past 30yrs, she told me how different the climate is right now. The summers were apparently  way colder (100 C - 150 C) throughout the day and one wouldn't even realise it was summer! And she was starting to feel the heat in the months that weren't supposed to have heat! Even in Kerala, where I live, the monsoon seasons have become so bizarre that there is either too much rain which eventually causes flooding or there is no rain at all and the humidity and the unbearable heat seeps in. I know many of you would realise this if you retrospect your childhood days and now.

A pocket of Bangalore that has retained its old school charm 

Transparency is important in every aspect, not just in communications but also in our lifestyle. Most of us aren't aware of the whereabouts of the products that we use in our daily routine like where it comes from, the ingredients that were used in it, the mode of transportation used and so much more. Now you might wonder how exactly this is related to what I was talking about so far. Let’s connect the dots.

Awareness, which is the key to facilitating effective communication, can be achieved by addressing it on a personal level, by allowing ourselves to evolve or change from within ourselves. Trying to retrospect on our daily habits and finding ways to incorporate mindful practices can be a great way to communicate a change that will make yourselves and others flourish. We go out and beyond to achieve what we want and to protect our loved ones, so why not think of tackling Climate Change which will affect and is affecting all of us already?

Each one of us has unique perceptions and aspirations. What might seem ideal to you might not be the same for others. Identifying this uniqueness and coming up with solutions on how to communicate the change is another essential step apart from breaking down terms.

This might seem complicated but once you get started on it, it would be the beginning of not just a sustainable journey that will benefit our planet and its inhabitants but this will also be us living in the moment and discovering the potential to make incredible changes to this world.

Written by: Sreelakshmi Kumar