Inspire Action, Not Fear

I’ve noticed a trend I find disturbing. I see article after article after article indicating that our planet is under extreme stress. Climate change is creating extreme weather, destroying coastlines, creating unfathomable drought, destroying ecosystems, and is a worldwide threat that will ultimately cause humanity’s extinction.

Let me be clear, I believe climate change is happening.


The fear-mongering put in front of us by the mainstream media seems to ignore a simple truth: if you want people to change, you must tell them what action to take.

I see these scary headlines, and I confess it causes me anguish. I want my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (and yours, too) to live in a world where they don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of the air, water, and food they consume.

I want humanity to thrive. Yes, we seem to be parasitic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be better, and do noble things, and create amazing things.

But the media doesn’t seem to want to focus on action.

Even Al Gore, who brought this concern forward amidst controversy surrounding his own use of a private jet, did little to really impress upon people (or at least me) what to DO about climate change.

The most memorable part of his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, was this image:

Yes, it’s compelling. Regardless of what people believe about climate change, this image is compelling. It’s provocative. It’s conversation-inducing.

It’s useless.

In a single moment, watching Al Gore present his case, I was lost as a possible ally to the climate change “movement.” Now, again, let me be clear, I know this is bigger than a movement. Stay with me a bit longer.

When I watched this scene, did I jump off of my couch, mobilize a team of people, change my personal habits to do more recycling, reusing, reducing? Was I inspired to act?


I wanted to crawl into a hole. It felt completely and utterly hopeless.

If we are really where Al Gore said we were then (and where all the articles say we are now), then the notion of springing into action feels insane. What’s the point when we are already so far gone?

The real crux of the matter, though, is bigger and it’s where we get to connect back with my personal passion for personal development and business growth. It also connects with my overall hope for humanity.

The crux? Inspiring ACTION.

Action requires a change in behavior. Humans are habitual creatures. We avoid change like the plague (sidenote: considering how badly the plague hit humanity, I’ve always found this turn of phrase a bit… odd).

So, if action requires change, and we avoid change, what do we do?

I linked to a few articles above that comment about how much climate change is already hitting us hard; there are hundreds (thousands?) more out there. These articles share examples of extreme cold during Winter, extreme heat and drought during Summer, coastal erosion, bleaching coral reefs, and more. What did they all seem to lack? Action.

Not a single article, at least that I remember (or made a lasting impression on me), used their significant platform to inspire the most important thing: ACTION.

Instead, they used their powerful voices to blast everyone for how bad things are, and how it’s the United States’ fault, or Russia’s fault, or India’s fault, or China’s fault.

My reaction when reading any of these non-action-oriented pieces? Scoff, eyeroll, and “Yep, I get it, things are bad. Tell me what the F to do about it!”

Sure, I could take the time to research ways to lower my carbon footprint, support organizations working to “reverse” climate change, work for or support companies that work to minimize or inversely offset their climate change impact, and more. Sure, I could, absolutely. And, when I have time, I will.

And that’s the kicker, time.

The vast majority of people are much too busy dealing with the day-to-day of living their life that they simply don’t have time to go and learn what they can do to help positively make changes. I have a full-time job. I have three kids. I have two dogs. I have a wife. I have friends. I have things in my life that demand my attention.

Yes, I know that if the fears these articles discuss come to fruition, then all of these things I’m spending time with will ultimately cease to exist. It’s easy to make the claim that this IS the most important thing. But bills are impacting many of us right now. Climate change feels distant.

If you’re writing an article on the devastating impact of climate change, I implore you, help me. Help us. Make it easy for us. You’re already doing the research. You’re a journalist (or a blogger with journalistic integrity). Do a little more research, and give us an action plan. Make it super simple. Help us help the planet.

Don’t just tell us how bad things are. That doesn’t help. Yes, it’s important. To get out of debt, the first step is knowing how much debt we have. Yes, it’s important. But, even when you know how much debt you have, it can feel impossible to get out of debt without an ACTION plan to follow.

This doesn’t apply solely to writers of climate change articles. This lesson is applicable to everything.

Especially personal and business development.

Want to improve your life in some way. Take action.

Want to improve or grow your business? Take action.

Want to help others personally or professionally? Show them how to take action.

Fear-mongering is useless. Action is everything.

If you want your customers or clients to do something, tell them. Make it so utterly obvious that they can’t help but take the action you want them to take.