Newcastle City Council’s climate change communications praised for not trying to ‘scare’ public

Newcastle City Council’s new communication strategy on climate change has been praised for not simply saying that the world is “going to burn”.

The new engagement plan for communicating the council’s efforts to go net zero were presented to members of the city’s climate change committee on Thursday. The new way forward will involving take a “positive but realistic” overview of the city’s progression towards its green targets and is aimed at motivating people to take action through encouraging positive behaviour.

Members of the committee felt this was the better approach to take. Previously, they felt the council had tried to encourage action by warning people of the dangers of climate change.

Speaking at the meeting, Coun Gareth Kane said: “Previously the strategy was about scaring the pants off people. We’ve been getting the doom message since 1962, we’ve got to do something different if that hasn’t worked in previous years and this is a vast improvement.

“I like it. ‘Together we make a difference’ absolutely nails the message. All too often climate change comms is ‘the world is going to fry, turn off your TV at night’.”

The meeting’s chairman, Coun Charlie Gray, added: “This is a much better way than saying ‘the world is going to burn, you’re all going to die and it’s going to be awful’. This is about making sure people feel part of something, rather than telling them off.

“Rather than it being presented as meddling councils, making people across the board feel as though they were involved is a real positive.”

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