Join the
covergence

Uncovering the common messages from the leading experts in the Climate Crisis.

Trying to understand the full scope of the Climate Crisis can be overwhelming, to say the least. But do not fear, for the messages are not as mixed as they may seem. After analyzing speeches from a number of leading Climate Crisis experts, our research team was able to identify key patterns of advice which link their messages together. Although each expert has their own unique way of wording and framing, many of them are saying the same things about the current problem and best possible solutions.

How to 
  • think
  • act
  • speak
  • think

in the face of
the Climate Crisis.

It may seem obvious that humans are emitting too much CO2 into the atmosphere, but there are also many other factors that are feeding into the Climate Crisis, such as lack of trust in science, lack of systemic thinking, and major conflicts of interest.

How should we respond to the Climate Crisis?

According to the key patterns we’ve identified, here are some major changes we need to make:

Uncovering the patterns

If you want to know more about the most common advice, the experts, and their unique framing, explore our research findings below.

Think

Think optimistically

George Monbiot

British Writer

"In motivating people to love and defend the natural world, an ounce of hope is worth a ton of despair... Perhaps we should also start thinking about the return of some of our lost megafauna. (What) the story rewilding tells us is that ecological change need not always proceed in one direction. It offers us the hope that our silent spring could be replaced by a raucous summer."

George Monbiot’s Ted talk

Al Gore

Nobel Laureate

""Can we change?" is clearly "Yes." And it's an ever-firmer "yes." Starting in 2010, investments globally in renewable electricity generation surpassed fossils."

Al Gore’s Ted talk

Katharine Hayhoe

Atmospheric Scientist

"Sure, it's a daunting problem. Nobody knows that more than us climate scientists. But we can't give in to despair. We have to go out and actively look for the hope that we need, that will inspire us to act. And that hope begins with a conversation today."

Katharine Hayhoe’s Ted talk

Pope Francis

Bishop of Rome

"Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn't lock itself into darkness, that doesn't dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow. Hope is the door that opens onto the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree."

Pope Francis’s Ted talk

Jared Diamond

Civilization Scholar

"Our biggest threat is not an asteroid about to crash into us, something we can do nothing about. Instead, all the major threats facing us today are problems entirely of our own making. And since we made the problems, we can also solve the problems. That then means that it's entirely in our power to deal with these problems."

Jared Diamond’s Ted talk

Gavin Schmidt

Climate Scientist

"Can we change things that affect air pollution and climate at the same time? The answer is yes."

Gavin Schmidt’s Ted talk

James Hansen

Climatologist

"Now the tragedy about climate change is that we can solve it..."

James Hansen’s Ted talk

Christiana Figueres

Climate Advocate

"Optimism... is courage, hope, trust, solidarity, the fundamental belief that we humans can come together and can help each other to better the fate of mankind... For six years, I have stubbornly, relentlessly injected optimism into the system, no matter what the questions from the press."

Christiana Figueres’s Ted talk

Chad Frischmann

Systems strategist, Coalition-builder

"Drawdown is a new way of thinking about global warming... It's a goal for a future that we want, a future where reversing global warming is possible... (we must) reduce consumption through behavior change."

Chad Frischmann’s Ted talk

Steven Pinker

Psychologist

"A true optimist believes there can be much better worlds than the one we have today. But all of this is irrelevant, because the question of whether progress has taken place is not a matter of faith or having an optimistic temperament or seeing the glass as half full. It's a testable hypothesis."

Steven Pinker’s Ted talk

Rethink our systems

Al Gore

Nobel Laureate

"We're used to thinking of linear cause and linear effect -- one cause, one effect. This (climate change) is systemic causation."

Al Gore’s Ted talk

Greta Thunberg

Climate Activist

"Today, we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground. So we can't save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change -- and it has to start today."

Greta Thunberg’s Ted talk

Johan Rockström

Sustainability Expert

"(We have to) shift our development paradigm and learn from many of the developing countries that have moved very fast... We need to go into a transformative, disruptive future, where we start thinking outside of the box."

Johan Rockström’s Ted talk

Jeremy Rifkin

Writer and Thinker

"Recent discoveries in science, specifically the mirror neurons, suggest that humans are inherently empathatic beings. We must bring out our empathic sociability so we can rethink the institutions of society and prepare the groundwork for an empathic civilization."

Jeremy Rifkin’s Ted talk

Kate Raworth

Renegade Economist

"...we so readily believe that economic progress will take this... ever-rising line of growth. It's time to think again, to reimagine the shape of progress, because today, we have economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, and what we need, especially in the richest countries, are economies that make us thrive whether or not they grow... We need economies that are regenerative and distributive by design."

Kate Raworth’s Ted talk

Naomi Klein

Journalist, Activist

"What we discovered is that a great many of us are looking for permission to act less like brands and more like movements. Because movements don't care about credit. They want good ideas to spread far and wide. "

Naomi Klein’s Ted talk

Chad Frischmann

Systems strategist, Coalition-builder

"...we need to rethink how we produce our food to make it more regenerative... And it's not just how we produce food, but what we consume that has a massive impact on global warming..."

Chad Frischmann’s Ted talk

Dream of a better future

Al Gore

Nobel Laureate

"When I was 13 years old, I heard that proposal by President Kennedy to land a person on the Moon and bring him back safely in 10 years. And I heard adults of that day and time say, "That's reckless, expensive, may well fail." But eight years and two months later, in the moment that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, there was great cheer that went up in NASA's mission control in Houston."

Al Gore’s Ted talk

Katharine Hayhoe

Atmospheric Scientist

"we need a vision of a better future -- a future with abundant energy, with a stable economy, with resources available to all, where our lives are not worse but better than they are today."

Katharine Hayhoe’s Ted talk

Naomi Klein

Journalist, Activist

"we need to picture the world that we're fighting for. And we have to dream it up together. Right now, every alarm in our house is going off simultaneously. It's time to listen. It's time to leap."

Naomi Klein’s Ted talk

Robert Ballard

Oceanographer

"Why are we not looking at moving out onto the sea? Why do we have programs to build habitation on Mars, and we have programs to look at colonizing the moon, but we do not have a program looking at how we colonize our own planet? And the technology is at hand."

Robert Ballard’s Ted talk

Stephen Petranek

Technology Forecaster

"But think for a moment, what we had when John F. Kennedy told us we would put a human on the moon. He excited an entire generation to dream. Think how inspired we will be to see a landing on Mars. Perhaps then we will look back at Earth as we struggle to survive on Mars, and realize how precious the home planet is".

Stephen Petranek’s Ted talk

Tshering Tobgay

Prime Minister of Bhutan

"...we're here to dream together, to work together, to fight climate change together, to protect our planet together."

Tshering Tobgay’s Ted talk

Realize interconnectedness

Jared Diamond

Civilization Scholar

"...the most important thing we need to do is to forget about there being any single thing that is the most important thing we need to do. Instead, there are a dozen things, any one of which could do us in. And we've got to get them all right, because if we solve 11, we fail to solve the 12th -- we're in trouble. For example, if we solve our problems of water and soil and population, but don't solve our problems of toxics, then we are in trouble."

Jared Diamond’s Ted talk

Jeremy Rifkin

Writer and Thinker

"Empathy is the invisible hand. Empathy allows us to stretch our sensibility to another so we can cohere with larger social units. To empathize is to civilize, to civilize is to empathize."

Jeremy Rifkin’s Ted talk

Christiana Figueres

Climate Advocate

"Well, now that we're in a world in which we have reached planetary boundaries and that we are not just so interconnected, but increasingly interdependent on each other, your loss is no longer my gain. We're either all losers or we all can be winners."

Christiana Figueres’s Ted talk

Naoko Ishii

Environmental Policy Expert

"So, I invite all of you to embrace the global commons. Please do remember that global commons do exist and are waiting for your stewardship. We all share one planet in common. We breathe the same air, we drink the same water, we depend on the same oceans, forests, and biodiversity. There is no space left on earth for egoism."

Naoko Ishii’s Ted talk

Uncovering the patterns

If you want to know more about the most common advice, the experts, and their unique framing, explore our research findings below.

Speak

Speak urgently

James Hansen

Climatologist

"So now you know what I know that is moving me to sound this alarm. Clearly, I haven't gotten this message across. The science is clear. I need your help to communicate the gravity and the urgency of this situation and its solutions more effectively. We owe it to our children and grandchildren."

James Hansen’s Ted talk

Greta Thunberg

Climate Activist

"I remember thinking that it was very strange that humans, who are an animal species among others, could be capable of changing the Earth's climate. Because if we were, and if it was really happening, we wouldn't be talking about anything else... And no one talks about it. There are no emergency meetings, no headlines, no breaking news. No one is acting as if we were in a crisis. Even most climate scientists or green politicians keep on flying around the world, eating meat and dairy."

Greta Thunberg’s Ted talk

Katharine Hayhoe

Atmospheric Scientist

"The most important thing to do is, instead of starting up with your head, with all the data and facts in our head, to start from the heart, to start by talking about why it matters to us, to begin with genuinely shared values."

Katharine Hayhoe’s Ted talk

Speak optimistically

Chad Frischmann

Systems strategist, Coalition-builder

"What we need is to accelerate implementation and to change the discourse from one of fear and confusion, which only leads to apathy, to one of understanding and possibility, and, therefore, opportunity."

Chad Frischmann’s Ted talk

Christiana Figueres

Climate Advocate

"...I realized I have no idea how we're going to solve this problem, but I do know one thing: we have got to change the tone of this conversation. Because there is no way you can deliver victory without optimism."

Christiana Figueres’s Ted talk

Communicate science effectively

Johan Rockström

Sustainability Expert

"The modeling and engagement and dialogues enable us to identify five transformations that could actually potentially take us there."

Johan Rockström’s Ted talk

Naomi Oreskes

Historian of Science

"Our trust in science, like science itself, should be based on evidence, and that means that scientists have to become better communicators. They have to explain to us not just what they know but how they know it, and it means that we have to become better listeners."

Naomi Oreskes’s Ted talk

Uncovering the patterns

If you want to know more about the most common advice, the experts, and their unique framing, explore our research findings below.

Act

Trust in technology: invest in sustainable solutions

Jeremy Rifkin

Writer and Thinker

"...if we have gone from empathy in blood ties to empathy in religious associational ties to empathy based on national identification is it really a big stretch to imagine the new technologies allowing us to connect our empathy to the human race writ large in a single biosphere?... We have the technology that allows us to extend the central nervous system and to think viscerally as a family not just intellectually."

Jeremy Rifkin’s Ted talk

Al Gore

Nobel Laureate

"Cheaper solar penetration rates are beginning to rise. Grid parity is understood as that line, that threshold, below which renewable electricity is cheaper than electricity from burning fossil fuels. This is the biggest new business opportunity in the history of the world, and two-thirds of it is in the private sector."

Al Gore’s Ted talk

Katharine Hayhoe

Atmospheric Scientist

"In India, they're looking to replace a quarter of a billion incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, which will save them seven billion dollars in energy costs. They're investing in green jobs, and they're looking to decarbonize their entire vehicle fleet. India may be the first country to industrialize without relying primarily on fossil fuels."

Katharine Hayhoe’s Ted talk

Naomi Klein

Journalist, Activist

"So we call for that 100 percent renewable economy in a hurry, but we went further. Calls for new kinds of trade deals, a robust debate on a guaranteed annual income, full rights for immigrant workers, getting corporate money out of politics, free universal day care, electoral reform and more."

Naomi Klein’s Ted talk

Tshering Tobgay

Prime Minister of Bhutan

"We are cleaning up our entire country through Clean Bhutan, a national program, and we are planting trees throughout our country through Green Bhutan, another national program. So what if we set up Earth For Life, a global fund, to kickstart the Bhutan For Life throughout the world?"

Tshering Tobgay’s Ted talk

James Hansen

Climatologist

"...we can solve it with a simple, honest approach of a gradually rising carbon fee collected from fossil fuel companies and distributed 100 percent electronically every month to all legal residents on a per capita basis, with the government not keeping one dime... It is the principal requirement for moving us rapidly to a clean energy future. "

James Hansen’s Ted talk

Chad Frischmann

Systems strategist, Coalition-builder

"Drawdown is a new way of... acting on global warming. We would want to implement these solutions whether or not global warming was even a problem, because they have cascading benefits to human and planetary well-being."

Chad Frischmann’s Ted talk

Live in balance with nature

George Monbiot

British Writer

"Why shouldn't all of us have the Serengeti at our doorsteps?... I don't see this as an alternative to civilization. I believe we can enjoy the benefits of advanced technology, as we're doing now, but at the same time, if we choose, have access to a richer and wilder life of adventure when we want to because there would be wonderful, rewilded habitats."

George Monbiot’s Ted talk

Kate Raworth

Renegade Economist

"So this double-sided challenge to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet, it invites a new shape of progress, no longer this ever-rising line of growth, but a sweet spot for humanity, thriving in dynamic balance between the foundation and the ceiling."

Kate Raworth’s Ted talk

Naoko Ishii

Environmental Policy Expert

"We all share one planet in common. We breathe the same air, we drink the same water, we depend on the same oceans, forests, and biodiversity. There is no space left on earth for egoism. The global commons must be kept within their safe operating space, and we can only do it together."

Naoko Ishii’s Ted talk

Chad Frischmann

Systems strategist, Coalition-builder

"...how we manage land is also very important. Protecting forests and wetlands safeguards, expands and creates new carbon sinks that directly draw down carbon. This is how drawdown can happen."

Chad Frischmann’s Ted talk

Tshering Tobgay

Prime Minister of Bhutan

"...we're here to dream together, to work together, to fight climate change together, to protect our planet together. Because the reality is we are in it together. Some of us might dress differently, but we are in it together."

Tshering Tobgay’s Ted talk

Reduce CO2 emissions

James Hansen

Climatologist

"This imbalance, if we want to stabilize climate, means that we must reduce CO2 from 391 ppm, parts per million, back to 350 ppm. That is the change needed to restore energy balance and prevent further warming."

James Hansen’s Ted talk

Chad Frischmann

Systems strategist, Coalition-builder

"(we must be working to) replace existing fossil fuel-based energy generation with clean, renewable sources; reduce consumption through technological efficiency and behavior change; and to biosequester carbon in our plants' biomass and soil through a process we all learn in grade school, the magic of photosynthesis."

Chad Frischmann’s Ted talk

Gavin Schmidt

Climate Scientist

"We can do some work to mitigate the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That's the top one. We can do more work to really bring it down so that by the end of the century, it's not much more than there is now. Or we can just leave it to fate and continue on with a business-as-usual type of attitude."

Gavin Schmidt’s Ted talk

Johan Rockström

Sustainability Expert

"The first one is to cut emissions by half every decade along the scientific pathway to Paris, doubling investments in renewable energy, creating a global energy democracy, allowing us to meet several of the SDGs."

Johan Rockström’s Ted talk

Naoko Ishii

Environmental Policy Expert

"...we need to change our energy system. The world economy must sharply decarbonize."

Naoko Ishii’s Ted talk

Shift towards sustainable food systems

Naoko Ishii

Environmental Policy Expert

"...we need to change our food system, what to eat and how to produce it."

Naoko Ishii’s Ted talk

Chad Frischmann

Systems strategist, Coalition-builder

"...the decisions we make every day about the food we produce, purchase and consume are perhaps the most important contributions every individual can make to reversing global warming."

Chad Frischmann’s Ted talk

Katharine Hayhoe

Atmospheric Scientist

"...eating local, eating lower down the food chain and reducing food waste, which at the global scale, is one of the most important things that we can do to fix this problem."

Katharine Hayhoe’s Ted talk

Johan Rockström

Sustainability Expert

"...a rapid shift towards sustainable food systems, investing one percent per year in sustainable intensification and really moving towards implementing and investing in solutions that we already have available today.

Johan Rockström’s Ted talk

Better education & Family planning

Chad Frischmann

Systems strategist, Coalition-builder

"All the energy and emissions that are used to produce that higher demand is reduced by providing the basic human right to choose when, how and if to raise a family. But family planning cannot happen without equal quality of education to girls currently being denied access."

Chad Frischmann’s Ted talk

Robert Ballard

Oceanographer

"... we want to create the classroom of tomorrow... You win or lose an engineer or a scientist by eighth grade. The game is not over -- it's over by the eighth grade... We need to be not only proud of our universities. We need to be proud of our middle schools."

Robert Ballard’s Ted talk

Johan Rockström

Sustainability Expert

"(We need) a radical increase in more education, health, access to work, contraception, investing largely in women across the world, allowing us to deliver on SDGs on gender, inequality, economics and urban development."

Johan Rockström’s Ted talk

Create & use scientific models

Naomi Oreskes

Historian of Science

"Our basis for trust in science is actually the same as our basis in trust in technology, and the same as our basis for trust in anything, namely, experience. But it shouldn't be blind trust any more than we would have blind trust in anything. Our trust in science, like science itself, should be based on evidence."

Naomi Oreskes’s Ted talk

Gavin Schmidt

Climate Scientist

"The models are skillful, but what we do with the information from those models is totally up to you... one key reason why we look at models, because if we had observations of the future, we obviously would trust them more than models, but unfortunately, observations of the future are not available at this time."

Gavin Schmidt’s Ted talk

Kristin Poinar

Glaciologist

"It’s our role as glaciologists and scientists (to create models) to narrow these uncertainties. How much sea level rise is coming, and how fast will it get here? We need to know how much and how fast, so the world and its communities can plan for the sea level rise that’s coming.”

Kristin Poinar’s Ted talk

Modernize cities

Paul Romer

Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at World Bank

"So the proposal is that we conceive of something called a charter city. We start with a charter that specifies all the rules required to attract the people who we'll need to build the city."

Paul Romer’s Ted talk

Naoko Ishii

Environmental Policy Expert

"We need to save ourselves from the tragedy of the commons... we need to change our cities... We need green cities."

Naoko Ishii’s Ted talk

Our research methodology

Our original research purpose was to map out the communication surrounding the Climate Crisis.

As we gained a deeper understanding of the complexity surrounding the topic, we refined our research purpose to focus on the “effective messages used by the experts in the Climate Crisis” that would encourage people to take positive action.

TED.com
Query #climatechange
Filter by “most viewed, post-2015”
Compile a list of the 30 TED talks
Cross-reference with Climate Cleanup’s list of notable experts
Cross-reference with Apolitical.com's list of "The World's most influential people in Climate Policy"
Analyze the narratives of 22 TED talks with a designed questionnaire
How do they describe the current issue?
What actions do we need to take to experience a positive change?
What is the desired future they have in mind?
What stories or metaphors are they using to convey their message effectively?
Spot the patterns between the narratives
To know more details about our research process read our blog Sprint 1 Sprint 2 Sprint 3 Sprint 4 Sprint 5 posts and take a look at our data. Are you enyoing the background colors of this website? Take a look here to see what they mean.

About the Team

AJ Magee

What i do: I design to inform, inspire, and connect people together.

Why it matters: We are all living on the same floating rock as a single human race, and all of our actions affect everyone else. This means we must work together to create the beautiful world we would all be proud to live in.

I have… love and hope right between my ears.

LinkedIn

Jessica Ciucci

What i do: I'm a social researcher with a big passion for the creative arts and the digital realm.

Why it matters: Through my work I offer an anthropological perspective by investigating the cultural and emotional consequences of major phenomena happening from local to global scales.

I have… endless possibilities right between my ears.

LinkedIn

Li-Hsin Chang

What i do: With a multidisciplinary approach, I investigate and communicate risks, opportunities, and adaptation to the Climate Crisis.

Why it matters: From individual to collective, every effort to change the business-as-usual attitude counts.

I have… systemic thinking right between my ears.

LinkedIn

Linda Nißlbeck

What i do: I am a transformation designer excited about social change, interactive media, and the mysteries of human behavior.

Why it matters: Facing the most urgent problem of our times, we need to take a closer look to the underlying problems while embracing empathy.

I have… curiosity right between my ears.

LinkedIn

Valentina Todorova

What i do: I am a visual story teller & image maker, for meaningful good.

Why it matters: Because design is the visual language of change for a conscious future.

I have…all the right questions right between my ears.

LinkedIn