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, Our Voices
The Our Voices interfaith climate campaign commissioned the Climate Outreach Information Network to test a variety of messages around climate change aimed at members of the world’s 5 main faith groups: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. Their research revealed different frames and narrative arcs that proved effective to faith audiences, plus some pitfalls to avoid.
WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE A LOOK
As the climate movement expands to encompass a broader coalition of people worldwide, smart language and stories will help to bring people into the fold. COIN’s innovative work gives climate communicators the tools to shape their messages for the larger faith audience.
5 OVERALL LESSONS
Be Cautious With Blame And Fear. Blaming ourselves doesn’t consider our better intentions. People responded better to messages of support and love. Blaming others (eg. the fossil fuel industry) can be polarizing to conservative audiences.
Present Threats And Solutions In Terms Of Core Values. The report suggests identifying a core value, exposing climate change as a threat to that value, and reinforcing that climate solutions support it.
Promote Rewards Of Stronger Faith And Belonging. Use language that tells us how taking climate action in our daily lives makes us better people and members of our faith.
Create A Narrative Arc. People root themselves in stories. Present a challenge, action, and resolution in which order and moral values are restored.
Find Specific Language For Each Faith Within A Narrative Theme. Faith messages need to be rooted within the language of specific faiths, not targeted to all people of faith at once.
NARRATIVES THAT WORK
The report identifies 5 story themes that resonated with people of faith: Earth (Creation) Care, Moral Challenge, Balance, Action, and Personal Pledge
LANGUAGE TO AVOID OR USE CAREFULLY
Substitute out polarizing words. Consider these word choices: Fairness not justice, warnings not signs or tests, faith not religion
Some words and frames don’t strike everyone well. Forgiveness, disobedience, proselytizing and natural limits should be employed with caution, if at all.
image via (cc) flickr Bruce Turner