Seven key frames for a paradigm shift

The Climate Outreach and Information Network’s new report proposes an update to climate change framing around 7 key dimensions of the issue (science, law, economy, technology, democracy, culture, and behavior) in order to include more people, highlight holistic solutions, spark conversations, and differentiate climate change from environmentalism.

Because asking for generic “action” is passé and so is the environmental frame for climate change. If you want to generate action, you need a frame with audience targets and a clear demonstration of the problem’s systemic roots that shows us what role we can play in our society.

COIN has broken climate change down into seven dimensions to broaden the conversation to its necessary proportions without adding unnecessary complexity. These dimensions bring to the fore the questions of why we aren’t taking action, how we can find solutions, and who can participate in the change.

Science. Scientists need to step out of their bubble and communicate on what we know and what options we have for avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

Law. Global laws with the aim of mitigating climate change are necessary to prevent disaster. We need to embrace a shift from “prevent emissions” to “constrain extraction” in order to address the problem head on.

Economy. We must forge the link between economic planning and ecological constraints. Economics currently function as the cornerstone of our global system. As long as economics remains distanced from our needs for a sustainable future, progress on climate will be difficult.

Technology. It is time to scale up “deep decarbonization.” This means investing heavily in low-carbon research and development and redesigning infrastructure for the future.

Democracy. Collective action by governments is necessary, yet the very form of democracy may constrain action on climate change by nature. People look to governments for leadership, while governments fear taking bold action without a strong sense of approval. Mobilizing civil society can get us out of this trap.

Culture. The average person doesn’t talk much about climate change. They need to. Telling stories of climate change, weaving it into the media, and making it a part of our daily conversation is a way to break the silence and build a sense of our roles in the fight.

Behavior. We know that climate change is occurring, and yet we fly across the world for vacation. This is the insidious problem of stealth denial. As individuals and on a societal scale, changing our behavior to match the facts of climate change means truly embracing the change we are going through on a psychological level.


image via (cc) Flickr St. Gallen Symposium

Date: 2015
Organization: COIN, RSA
Strategic Approach: Framing
Organization: COIN, RSA
Strategic Approach: Framing

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