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Towards a citizen-led reality check

By refusing to call time on implausible climate targets, trusted messengers – such as climate scientists and environmental charity leaders – are providing inadvertent permission for the public to continue minimising the reality of climate breakdown. The sustained absence of widespread public support for meaningful action results.

This is not one-way traffic. The absence of widespread public support for meaningful action, is in turn consumed by governments – and politicians in general – as permission for them to resist more urgent calls for decarbonisation by the very same trusted messengers. 

And so it goes… Everyone ends up with the story they need to render life unchanged. We term this largely unconscious dynamic, mutually-assured protection. 

Someone however has to make the first move, and in the context of confronting the reality of climate breakdown, we believe it is more likely to be the general public. We believe there is untapped potential for citizens themselves to help make it ‘safe’ for trusted messengers to ‘defect’ from the mainstream consensus. 

People Get Real regards this as a necessary condition for helping to shift some of the majority, who still believe there’s ‘just enough time’, into the more realistic territory already occupied by one in five UK adults, who believe ‘it is now too late’ for urgent climate action to secure a liveable world for all. 

In this respect, we believe reality-checking consensus can be framed publicly as an action in its own right. Agency and empowerment, in other words, are deliberately located in commandeering response time to climate breakdown from those upholding the existing narrative. 

Please download our full report to see our recommendations for how a citizen-led reality check of the existing consensus might be realised. 

We cannot of course do this alone. It is why we are seeking partners and funders, who know a thing or two about audience insight research, campaign design and mobilisation.

If our thinking and recommendations touch upon your personal statement, then please introduce yourself at: info@PeopleGetReal.org 

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