Moving from climate anxiety to climate action

Sustainability is the word on the streets at the moment. Every respectable organisation is taking a deep dive as people try to discover a) how climate change will impact them and b) what new business opportunities the heightened focus on sustainability might offer.


We recently attended Priority One’s Sustainability forum, where business leaders sought inspiration and information on working towards a sustainable economy. The keynote speaker and expert panel shared their experiences in actively leading sustainable change whilst covering the topics of decarbonisation, circular economy, hydrogen, renewable energy, emissions, and mode shift.


For people who are ‘into’ sustainability, these terms are well-known, and the event provided a fantastic opportunity to update ourselves on what’s happening on this front. We could tell from the vibe in the room that others felt the same. However, we couldn’t help but realise the challenge behind bringing this complex information to Joe Public.


One of our other clients has been exemplary in this space, crafting easy-to-understand narratives in an impactful way. In December last year, the Maketu Runanga released their climate change adaptation plan, He Toka Tū Moana Mō Maketū, which will help Maketū become more climate resilient.


Their dedication to getting everyone on board started before they put pen to paper for their plan. They listened to the Maketū community first, resulting in a whole community effort to help identify and mitigate climate change impacts in Maketū.


Once the plan was created, they asked us to help them roll it out to gather more support within their own community and share their messages with the wider region. Their primary focus for communication was ‘no doom and gloom’, so together we identified simple messages that conveyed hope, action and positive energy.


Now, you might think that’s a bit naïve, but climate change psychology has shown us time and time again that we need a spark of hope for us to go from climate anxiety and distress to climate action. Also, it’s common knowledge that people want to do something, so enabling them to join in encourages them.


We launched palatable, community-driven communications and a campaign called #climatekorero that stimulated dialogue. And this approach is working well for them. Since the plan was released, there’s been an increasing level of interest from the people of Maketū to learn more about the plan and to get involved.


It’s also attracted the attention from national and regional media. And more recently the plan has been nominated for Te Kokiringa Taumata / NZPI 2023 Awards, which celebrate ground-breaking planning work happening all across Aotearoa New Zealand.


For us, it’s been an honour to be a part of this incredibly important mahi. And even though Maketū is only a small community, their voices can affect larger change. We’re proud to help amplify their voices by using simple, positive messaging that’s driven by action.


If you’re keen to learn more about climate change and how to talk about it, check out these links:

  • This Ted Talk by Per Epsen Stoknes is about brain-friendly communications on climate change.
  • The Hidden Impact’ by Babette Porcelijn uncovers the hidden impact our consumption has on our climate and environment. If you’re not a bookworm, check out her Ted Talk.
  • Having a kōrero about climate change can be challenging. This short explainer video has some great tips and tricks on how to have effective climate conversations with whānau and friends.


Is your organisation struggling to bring complex information about sustainability-related topics across to the wider public or to your internal audiences? We’re happy to have a kōrero. Drop us an email at