I know the nuance of climate communications is more precarious than a sumo wrestler dancing on eggshells. Still, I constantly find myself batting ideas out into the world, only to have them thwacked back with pointed questions and thoughtful considerations attached to them. Climate stuff inspires my System 1, that rash part of the brain that makes you do things like buy purple jumpsuits and volunteer to play Come on Eileen on your violin at your friend’s rock concert. (No, these are not based on real-life impulse decisions, why do you ask?)
If I agree with the base sentiment, I sometimes share an idea in an effort to amplify it. If you’re doing the yeoman’s work of posting unpopular buzzkill news, I will like it, share it, and marry it. Sometimes this backfires (hello, my deeply unpopular Facebook post about cutting out flying!). Other times it abets learning. I was lucky enough to have an experience with the latter this week.
!!Ontario Content Alert!!
I shared an article about Premier Doug Ford’s abominable decision to close the office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. It’s a deeply regrettable move, telegraphing a lack of concern for the environment under the pretense of streamlining bureaucracy. But a friend who has worked in the Environmental Commissioner’s office for many years reached out to explain how this decision might actually play out positively. Overall, she’s optimistic that she’ll be able to continue her environmental work at the office of the Auditor General, and given the higher profile of the A-G, perhaps be more effective than before. This is fantastic news. And I almost wanted to share it more widely. But the fear of nuance nags. Will people walk away thinking our climate-denying Premier is somehow doing good by the environment? This friend and I both agreed that perhaps it’s best to let the prevailing sentiment about our shuttered environmental accountability office remain as such. Because anything that gets people in our province mobilized to fight our Premier’s execrable environmental moves is helpful right now.
Mostly, the experience was a reminder of the bluntness of our communications tools. And my own reductionist/quickie/angry face emoji shares. I resolve to take a little more time to contextualize why I’m sharing something, and what I really think about it. At the very least, I’ll source a GIF that better reflects my thoughts on the content I’m sharing.