I’m a #climateoptimist because…

Solitaire Townsend


Hope beats fear. It’s that simple and that difficult.

Futerra and The Climate Group have just jointly launched a global movement of climate optimists, who believe we must, we can and we will solve climate change.

During the launch at the Opening Ceremony of Climate Week, I revealed that we have built this entire campaign in only 8 weeks from conception to activation. Which is technically true for the messages, assets and creative.

But the concept of optimism itself runs deep in Futerra. And has weathered 16 years of global work on change.

Even back in our start-up days, when as a bunch of kids during 2001 we decided to try communicating sustainability in a new way, we made ‘optimism’ Rule 6 of our 10 Rules.

Back then, most folk working in social and environmental change were simply bemused about the idea. We avoided guilt inducing pleas, tried to be non-patronizing, and told people we loved them for taking action. This wasn’t standard amongst the standard images of smog pipes, bleached Earth and gas masks used in a lot of campaigns.

But over time, a more positive approach proved to work. Not always and not for everyone. But we had clearly found a formula that reached an audience who had been turned off by (or simply ignored) the threat messages.

Futerra was then commissioned by the UK Government to develop the strategy for the first national climate change campaign. We negotiated four possible messages: from the need for energy independence to being a good climate neighbour. We snuck in a fifth message – about the benefits of a low carbon future.

In focus group testing across the country, it was the only one folks liked, or even listened to.

We shared the results in the run up to COP21 in our Sizzle: The New Climate Message guide. And we’ve never looked back.

Optimism and positivity reaches audiences that the more common fear and doom approach just cannot get. I’ve written on the sociology and psychology of the message. And with this new campaign, Futerra has chosen to move from advising others, to creating our own messaging. Because to change the world, we need to imagine a better one.

Each of us must face climate change in our own way. We choose belief in a better future. We choose action. We choose hope.

Solving climate change starts with the belief that we can.

I hope you will join us. Opt in.


Posted by Solitaire Townsend

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