A silent majority of Canadians wants faster government action on climate change, but that momentum has been stymied by poor communication and messaging, a University of Waterloo marketer told CBC last week.
“There is a large silent majority with pent-up demand for government action on climate change,” said Bill Ratcliffe, a 30-year marketing veteran who teaches green marketing at UW and works with Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada. But “scientists and activist organizations have not done a good job of creating a positive image of the future that appeals to human aspirations.”
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CBC points to a recent Ipsos-Reid survey in which 75% of respondents wanted Canada to do more about the climate crisis. A separate Angus Reid study showed public support for the federal backstop price on carbon increasing from 42 to 58% once Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained how it would work. And Ratcliffe said a 2018 international study by Ikea and Toronto-based GlobeScan determined that nearly 90% of respondents would willingly change their behaviour to fight climate change.
Ratcliffe, who worked on Health Canada’s anti-smoking campaign in the 1990s, “said that for many people, the issue of climate change feels abstract or insurmountable,” CBC reports. “But he also said that when citizens do articulate their concerns, political leaders can’t help but act,” as they did when the Ford government was forced to drop plans to gut environmental protections for the southern Ontario Greenbelt.
“The government doesn’t act unless they feel the hot breath of the will of the people,” Ratcliffe said.