As someone who does communications work in sustainability, I find this important.
Take the latest Committee on Climate Change Report. It set out the UK climate targets, our carbon budget and a lot of ideas.
Well, I think it did. I didn’t read it. It was 448 pages. It had a summary but, that too was 24 pages long.
There is a place for these reports (probably?) however we need clear communication on what is in it as only a fraction of people read these things.
Another group sent me a 148 page report on sustainability yesterday. This is not unsuual. It is however, very unhelpful.
It’s fine to write reports for experts that are long and complicated. But if we want any of the messages to be understood then we need to explain them. Not just in words. Graphics, videos, infographics etc all can be used. No two people learn or see the same content. Now, in fairness, the 448 page report did have an infographic, but it was hard to find and is not being used on social media despite it being ideal for it.
It’s true of all things. What can you recycle where you live? Was it ever explained to you? I doubt it, yet authorities complain people recycle poorly.
Do you know what products have the lowest carbon footprint? No, but we are told to reduce it.
Do you know what net zero emissions means? Did you know there is no standard currently? Everyone is defining it themselves so commitments between countries are not comparable.
If you stopped someone on the street and asked them to explain climate justice, could they do it?
Concepts are just voiced and left for people to debate or buried in text no one will read bar a few high level experts. I have huge respect for these people but often (not always), specialised experts are not good at explaining things.
Sustainability has many problems. But not nearly as many as people think.
When I worked at an environmental regulator and they were in financial trouble, the communications team were made redundant first as they were “least important”.
We have this all wrong. Solutions are not solutions if people don’t know them. We need to be clear, stop showing off with jargon and acronyms to make things sounds pretentious or “business-like”.
Simply say interesting things simply.