In a front page article Saturday, “Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus,” the NYT opens with some mostly bad messaging advice from EcoAmerica:
The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.”
The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.
Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere.” Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” Don’t confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”
Yes, EcoAmerica is pushing the inapt phrase, “our deteriorating atmosphere” over “global warming” (and even over “climate change”). And EcoAmerica recommends generally skipping or dumbing down most of the climate science message. And EcoAmerica is pushing stuff that is just plain counterproductive — I quote now from material they handed out at a 2-hours presentation I attended last week: