Communicating About Climate Change One BITE at a Time!
by Brian Ettling
( St. Louis, MO, USA)
Brian Ettling, Writer for ClimateBites
Over the past five years, I have communicated about climate change, the most helpful website for me is ClimateBites.org.
In 2011, Tom Smerling and Don McCubbin created this website to offer metaphors, soundbites, quotes, humor, cartoons, stories and graphics for anyone looking to communicate more effectively about climate change.
Tom and I met through a mutual friend in Washington D.C. in October 2011 to figure out how I could collaborate on ClimateBites. Tom challenged me on the spot to contribute writings. Gulp. I had very limited experience with writing.
Two weeks later, but I posted my first bite post on ClimateBites October 14, 2011, Would you argue with your doctor over a heart condition?
Over the next two and years, I got hooked writing bites about 154 bites
Tom Smerling based ClimateBites making climate change messages "stick" in people's minds. Tom's inspiration was Chip & Dan Heath's guide to sticky messaging, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
then became an incredible creative outlet for me to look for sticky climate change soundbites when I was reading or watching documentaries on climate change.
The website was developing a collection of now almost sticky soundbite responses to these denier myths.
These are some of my favorites:
1. Myth: It's the sun
ClimateBite: "That’s a coffin with so many nails in it.”
2. Myth: Climate has always changed.
ClimateBite: People die natural deaths. So murder can't exist?
3. Myth: Climate has always changed.
ClimateBite: Forest fires occur naturally, so arson can't be real
4. Myth: Climate has always changed.
ClimateBite: Beavers felled trees before humans. So lumberjacks aren't real?
5. Myth: Coal creates jobs
Climatebite: "Yes, coal = jobs: for lung doctors."
6. Myth: We can adapt to climate change.
Climatebite: We cannot adapt to chaos.
7. Myth: We can adapt to climate change
ClimateBite: Our infrastructure may not be able to adapt.
8. Myth: Climate change is not real.
ClimateBite: That is like saying, ''the sun may not be real because it got dark last night."
9. Myth: Climate science is political.
ClimateBite: No, it is actually high school physics and chemistry.
10. Myth: The planet will be fine.
ClimateBite: The danger is not to the planet but our civilization.
11. Myth: Climate change is a threat to my freedom
ClimateBite: Extreme drought and heat waves are a threat to your freedom.
12. Myth: In the 1970s, climate scientists said the Earth was cooling
ClimateBite: That idea is even more outdated than wearing those 1970s disco outfits.
13. Myth: China pollutes
ClimateBite: Therefore, we should just keep polluting too?
14. Myth: China pollutes
ClimateBite: "That is like saying ’We won’t protect free speech until China does.’"
15. Myth: China pollutes
ClimateBite: China is actually "eating our lunch" on clean energy
16. Myth: It's just weather
ClimateBite: "Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get." — Mark Twain
17. Myth: It was cold last winter
ClimateBite: April 15 was cooler than Apr 1. So spring is a hoax?
18. Myth: Politicians won't respond
ClimateBite: "politicians don’t create political will, they respond to it."
19. Myth: It's hopeless
ClimateBite: "Action is the antidote for despair."— Joan Baez
20. Myth: It's hopeless
ClimateBite: Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up
21. Myth: I cannot make a difference
ClimateBite: Think Globally, Act Daily
The ClimateBites website had a big scare when it was hacked in June, 2014. Don McCubbin and Tom Smerling then had to take the site down for basically the rest of 2014 to restore it.
Unfortunately, during that last 6 months of 2014, I fell off my routine of regularly composting Bite posts, which had been such a productive outlet for me.
As soon as the website returned in January 2015, I became very productive. Since then, I wrote 14 new bites.
The most recent two bites I wrote seemed to receive a positive feedback when I posted it on social media:
Myth: I am not a climate scientist:
ClimateBite: "I’m not a doctor, but I know not to drink arsenic." – climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann
Myth: Fox News says climate change is not real.
ClimateBite: Ocean barnacles don't respond to Fox News, just sea level rise
ClimateBites.org has had huge influence on me to try to speak and write on climate change using sticky picturesque metaphors and soundbites to effective communicate.
My hope is that somehow the blog post may spur more interest in ClimateBites.org
It has been a very productive partnership with Tom Smerling and Don McCubblin over the past four and a half years.
I hope to continue post Bites on ClimateBites.org
since this website has been so beneficial to me.