Engaging people about changing their daily lives can be a ‘hot button’ issue – it can be controversial and bring out strong emotions. It’s even hard to communicate this issue for many within the climate change movement and communities advocating for sustainability.

There are ways to talk about transforming our ways of living with empathy and to support grounded, responsive and inspiring conversations.

The good news is we are learning how to talk with and engage people on sustainable living.

Communications Scan on Sustainable Living

•  Provides key tips for communicating sustainable living that reflect the magnitude, scale and urgency of the challenge.

•  Draws on analysis from the Beacon team to suggest new ways of packaging sustainable living. What haven’t we thought about? What works and what doesn’t?

•  Highlights 70 powerful examples of how people are communicating – and mainstreaming – sustainable living in effective and impactful ways.

•  Reviews 82 lifestyle footprint calculators, tools, websites, programs and campaigns from around the world.

•  Identifies trends and common features of these calculators.

•  Assesses the effectiveness of a range of footprint-reducing programs and campaigns, with recommendations for taking them to the next level.

We know what doesn’t work:

  • Leading with doomsday messaging or providing one-way delivery of scientific information.
  • Oversimplifying – for example ‘top 10 lists’ – that lead us into a ‘small-action’ trap: focusing attention on low-impact actions.

A preview of what does work:

  • Grounding framing and messaging as relevant to people and their context.
  • Being compelling and clear in messaging and suggested actions.
  • Connecting ‘better living’ to the footprint numbers – sharing how happy healthy lives remain within ecological boundaries.
  • Envisioning future one-planet living and celebrating more sustainable ways of living that exist today.

The Beacon is led by OneEarth Living and Hot or Cool, with generous support from the KR Foundation