• Lucy Bennett-Baggs

Climate change/crisis/ACTION (delete as appropriate)

The 3am diaries by CEO & Founder, Lucy Bennett-Baggs

“The outcome of COP26 is a compromise. It reflects the interests, the contradictions and the state of political will in the world today. It is an important step, but it is not enough,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

COP26 is officially over and as the news coverage and commentary completes its wrap ups and downs it’s pens- we must remain hyper-aware, that this is possibly the most critical time for us to understand what has happened over the course of the last 2 weeks, the core issues and crucially what we can do ourselves to be a part of the solution.

As part of this overarching plan to tackle the key issues, nearly 200 countries came together to now agree on the ‘Glasgow Climate Pact’ and these key commitments included:

  • Fossil fuel breakthrough agreement: Whilst not the hoped for “phase-out” of use, the commitment to drastically reduce is a step in the right direction and a COP outcome document first.

  • New target for emissions: Target set requires a 45% drop by 2030 to be achieved in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius.

  • Carbon-trading rules: Negotiations deal on carbon-trading rules reached to bring clarity and standardisation to companies, that should result in emissions decrease.

  • Methane pledge: For the first time, more than 100 countries pledged to slash methane.

  • US/China rare climate deal: The two biggest emitters ( US and China) have struck a rare climate deal. The finer details on what that means are still being defined, but the commitment to work together in improving the climate crisis is a big deal.

So whilst we sit and wait for our respective governments to implement and follow through on these critical actions, let’s look at where we are in translating these milestones into informing our own actions and what we have to do to come together as a single global community to play our own part in this plan for change.

The key barriers

1 | We don’t (truthfully) understand the key issues

New polling has shown that 77% of people in the UK don't really understand what net-zero means and this is only the start of it, when it comes to confusing concepts, terminology. Information is power, but if the information is not being delivered in a digestible format for people to properly understand, it’s impossible to expect people to take steps to improve the issues at hand. “The problem is many people are confused. Until everyone really understands the problem, how can we expect them to know what to do and which actions they should take?” Trewin Restorick, CEO and founder of Hubbub.

2 | We don’t know how to translate this into tangible and meaningful actions? Another report just released, shows that 80% of people are willing to make changes to their lifestyles to reduce the effects of global climate change. But willingness and action are 2 very different things, so how do we convert these good intentions into genuine change on a global scale? How can we expect people to do something about the issue, if they don’t know about easy to do steps that can be taken in their own life? The starting point here circles back to providing resources that inform people of understandable and relatable ways that they can actually help and make a difference. 3 | How do we know that our individual efforts are really making a difference? It becomes very quickly overwhelming to really know, as to exactly how I (alone) can possibly do anything that will have a positive impact on such a global problem like the climate crisis. And why should I bother until we are ALL genuinely working towards the same goal collectively. As a global community, we are doing much better at demanding more from our respective governments and organisations and showing willingness to support them on this journey. But with many revelations coming to the fore about climate solutions being passed off as a marketing strategy (greenwashing) ,the struggle is real to get personally onboard. This not only corrodes the trust we have in brands and organisations, but also discourages individual action, breeding the attitude of why any individual’s everyday actions would make any kind of difference to the enormity of the crisis, when these so-called leaders in change are falling so drastically short. This lack of transparency and trust certainly serves as a barrier to seeing good intentions come to life through action.

4 | Representation and branding For those passionate about the climate crisis you could be forgiven for believing that Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is THE face of her generation. She is heralded as such by most global news outlets, climate change bodies, governments and much of the world as well as appearing across many high profile publications, conferences, and events. Yet when it comes down to it, although she is turning heads, she is not evoking the kind of action you might well expect. As whilst Greta might represent the conscience of her generation (and upwards); she hasn’t yet been able to translate this desire and passion for the issue into positive action. But by no means is this on Greta or the other environmental bodies, organisations, charities or activists that are doing their damnedest in getting us to sit up straight and listen. So what is it that we are getting wrong, in converting people from passive to active planet advocates, and could it be time for a rebrand? How we refer to and speak about the climate crisis - matters. How we present the facts, information and its stories - matter. The credibility and popularity of the people who publicly represent it - matter. What if we treated how we communicate the climate crisis, the same way agencies and brands treat storytelling for the Superbowl. It’s big, it’s on trend, certainly star studded, and has everyone talking about “that hilarious Superbowl ad campaign” for weeks, if not months after the event.

The solution: Harnessing the power of us.

One thing we know for sure, is that this is a “WE, not a ME” problem, and to have any chance of saving our planet, will require us all to band together and unite.

Making action easy, connected, immediately rewarding and done on their (younger generations/digital natives) terms is vital.

The secret ingredient in all of this; transparency. Trust is a key factor in charitable giving, to earn it, charities must meet audiences where they are… digitally connected of course. Most of us have come to expect immediate action and immediate gratification. So openness on process and transparency of impact are essential. If an organisation commits to planting a tree, then let the treeline be reflected via satellite, or if scholarships have been funded, then make it clear how many and to whom (without divulging personal details of course). It’s no wonder crowdfunding sites, where progress updates are regular and widely accessible, have proven highly effective. Simply having a functioning website or a social media presence no longer suffice. Online donations and a mobile-friendly presence are a MUST, which are the pivotal insights that informed the creation and innovative technology to build the Force for Good mobile app. We need to find a way to make taking action on the climate crisis - dare we say - 'trendy', transparent and tangibly (almost scarily) real for the masses, scrolling on their newsfeeds. The disconnect between the actions taken and the accountability of being part of the solution is also distinctly apparent. This is why we MUST unite as a generation, as a cross-section of generations and unite the world in understanding their impact and the positive impact they can make by being part of something bigger. Supported and amplified through the people and influencers who speak for it, the representation of companies that are genuinely driving change, and the storytelling and actions to help tackle it with immediate gratification essential. Our role at Force for Good is connecting all of the above. As we create a space for all these parties to come together, and collectively drive change and make an even bigger impact on the world. I would like to invite you to join our community alongside thousands of other changemakers, sign up to be notified about when we launch.

Together I know we can be a Force for Good 💪

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