The New York Times wrote a story about it, but it doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction.
The article, published last Saturday, is titled Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus. It tells of a memo accidentally sent to news media. Written by ecoAmerica, an “environmental marketing and messaging firm,” the memo describes the need for environmentalists to better market their goal.
Here’s some of the terms and phrases that need to be put away and replaced so that the green message can be reframed, according to the article:
- Replace “global warming” with “our deteriorating atmosphere.”
- Instead of “carbon dioxide,” use “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.”
- “Cap and trade” should be replaced with “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”
- Use “saving money for a more prosperous future” instead of “energy efficiency,” as that “makes people think of shivering in the dark.”
It’s also important, says ecoAmerica, to “remember to speak in TALKING POINTS aspirational language about shared American ideals, like freedom, prosperity, independence and self-sufficiency while avoiding jargon and details about policy, science, economics or technology.”
Surprisingly, there seems to be little discussion of this in newspapers and websites. This could be, as the Times article reminds us, that global warming ranks very low in importance to the public, according to public opinion polls.
But there has been some reaction. Investor’s Business Daily, in the editorial What Green Means writes: “The environmental left is conceding that its effort to ‘fight’ global warming is in trouble because the public has tuned out the message. So the plan is to obscure the agenda even more. An agenda that eviscerates property rights, enlarges the regulatory state, increases taxes and forces egalitarianism isn’t an easy sell in a nation with a legacy of liberty and free markets. But some time ago, eco-activists and their allies in Congress understood that they could march the country to the left by small degrees if they disguised socialism as environmentalism.”
Even more blunt, a blog post on this topic at the Capital Research Center is titled Greens Planning to Lie More Effectively About Global Warming.
David Theroux’s post on this at the Independent Institute is Eco-Speak and “Green” Propaganda. He concludes “Of course, the ‘old’ terminology was earlier concocted as environmental propaganda as well, and it has fallen short not because of misperceptions by the public, but because most environmental fear-mongering has repeatedly been shown to be either greatly exaggerated or completely unfounded and bogus.”
At the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Patrick McIlheran, in the column Our deteriorating air, except for the parts that keep getting cleaner, writes “And that bit about ‘deteriorating atmosphere’: Nice phrase, only as the EPA itself will point out, our atmosphere is not deteriorating. The levels of all major pollutants have been declining for years. Our air is decidedly not deteriorating.”