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The Earth Needs a New PR Team

2023 was the warmest year on record, and 2024 is likely going to continue this trend. And this is not a new story. Climate change and global warming are constant focal points of politics and social discourse. However, despite the attention placed on climate change, more must be done. In fact, the progress made in reversing the Earth’s trajectory is very small compared to the harm humans have caused. 

Overconsumption (just see the Stanley Cup craze on TikTok), fossil fuels, and non-sustainable travel are still constants in our society despite general awareness of their harmful effects. Reducing a carbon footprint is not a priority for many people, especially those in capitalist Western societies. People living in the West, especially Americans, are not worried about how climate change will directly impact them, nor do they believe that their personal efforts do anything for the cause, leading them to do nothing. The narrative that individual actions will not help the climate movement is not entirely untrue. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about 70% of global emissions come from a few companies. But even despite that number, individual efforts in sustainability still matter. They not only help, but also help set environmentally friendly habits and bring awareness of climate change into everyday life. 

So how do people start incorporating sustainability into their lives and combat everyday environmentally unfriendly practices? Well, one field can play a big part. Public Relations, more commonly known as PR, has the ability to play a key role in this attitude shift. The essence of PR is to sell products and spin controversy. If PR methods were used to spin climate change into an issue everyone should care about and engage with, huge strides would be made. And the area where PR could make the largest impact is social media. 

PR teams know how to sell products to clients. They also know how to make things look more attractive to people. If PR professionals started using tactics to make climate change seem like a pressing issue to people online, awareness would be higher. 

Overconsumption and fast fashion have been discussed a lot on social media, mainly because of the quick trend turnover rate. Looking at that specific issue, PR could be used to counteract excessive buying culture. If handled right, PR firms could advertise for sustainable fashion, and more importantly, they could push content out about reusing your clothes and things instead of constantly buying new ones. PR representatives are professionals; they know how to make things convincing, and they know how to get people to buy into ideas. It’s that convincing edge that the climate movement needs to help people come to the cause. 

Environmentalism needs to be portrayed as something that is “cool” or “trendy.” Especially on social media, dense posts that explain science and the background of climate change will probably perform poorly. People need to feel that they are on the cutting edge and doing what the trend cycle is saying 

rather than being on the fringe of society. Achieving that task is not simple. It is hard to compete against companies that are always coming out with products and pushing people to buy them. That is why PR teams are so essential; this concept is so large that it needs to be taken on by people who understand the media landscape, not just individuals creating accounts on their own.

Environmentalism and PR’s relationship could look a lot of different ways. Primarily, PR teams could work with sustainable brands. They could also work with government agencies or other teams to simply explain climate change in a way that impacts people instead of just causing them to scroll. 

This is all to say that this presence does not exist already on social media. There are accounts that spread ideas about climate change, reducing carbon footprint, and more. And many of them may have their own PR teams behind them. However, these accounts are not making the same headway as those that pedal the opposite ideas. The content about the latest trends or the “must haves for 2024” are the videos and content that get pushed, not the material that discusses how to reuse what you have. That’s why it’s important to get more professionals involved in climate change content and rethink how environmentalism is portrayed online.


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