Director of branding proposes re-naming climate change terms

Director of branding proposes re-naming climate change terms

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Aaron Hall, director of naming at global branding company Siegel+Gale, is suggesting that terminology related to climate change needs to be tweaked to provoke a stronger reaction and ultimately prompt people to take appropriate actions.

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The story: In a piece for AdAge, Hall first writes that many scientific terms have changed over the years, as "global warming" morphed into "climate change." Global warming was hard to defend when the Earth was actually getting colder. As for climate change, skeptics say the climate is changing anyway. He argues renaming these ideas so they more accurately depict the consequences of inaction should motivate people to reconsider the effects of climate change.

What needs change? Global warming should become "global melting" or global meltdown," Hall writes, to conjure a more negative image in peoples' minds.

“The names signal that ice caps are melting, but also create a more visceral image in the mind — that real feeling of ‘melting’ when it’s too hot outside. A meltdown is a disastrous event that draws from the ultimate terror of a nuclear meltdown, an apt metaphor for global destruction," he explained.

Climate change should be replaced with "climate collapse" or "climate chaos" to “instill a clear message or even a direct call to action" because “there’s nothing neutral about collapse or chaos," he said.

Other suggestions include "boiling point," "melting point," "Scorched Earth," and " The Great Collapse."

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“Sometimes a brand name needs to be hyperbolic to truly capture hearts and minds. If we don’t take massive action now, Earth will be uninhabitable — an irreversible barren wasteland. ‘Scorched Earth’ paints the direst picture of what’s to come and what we must avoid and is likely the edgiest brand name from our exploration. Whatever we call it, impending climate doom is upon us if we don’t act quickly,” Hall concludes. “Perhaps a new name will shift the needle, even if just a little," he notes.

Worth noting: Some media companies have made writing style changes to reflect what they believe to be the seriousness of environmental issues. The Guardian, earlier this year, announced it will  use “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” and “global heating” instead of "global warming" or climate change."

Is it OK to use "alarmist" language just to trigger a reaction? A spokesperson for the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement says even scientists disagree over predictions about climate change consequences and that they're "using language that we feel is appropriate to the situation,”

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