Few topics are as difficult to communicate as climate change. As progressives, we often see this issue as a matter of science and facts, and attempt to educate the broader public accordingly. As folks from the PNW, with a great appreciation and local pride in the natural beauty of our region, we sometimes take a conservationist approach. And, as a young person, my view of the issue is inherently shaped by the future challenges and crises that we will face as a result of climate change. However, this focus on global temperatures, destruction of wild spaces, and long-term consequences isn’t necessarily working to bring new audiences into the effort to protect our one and only planet. In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, less than half of Americans believe that climate change was due to human activity. And a fifth said that there was no persuasive evidence either way.

After decades of activism and public dialogue on this issue, a new approach that centers people, instead of science, is needed. The Communications Hub, in partnership with Puget Sound Sage and the Latino Community Fund, hosted a year-long fellowship to develop that messaging. We all came to the program with a fundamental shared understanding that, while we all are affected by climate change, some are affected more than others. In order to put people at the center of our message, we have to first approach the issues raised by climate change through a racial justice lens.

After extensive research, including interviews with leaders in communities of color and a lengthy community review process, the following Climate Justice Narrative is a new starting point to message on climate change. We hope that this will serve as a working document that will evolve with the movement and maintain a focus on those most affected.

Click here to download.