"Those who doubt the existence of global warming are ignoring the train that's coming to hit us. It's coming, and it's our fault."
Posted October 21, 2013
I received the following email from Will Hadley, an eighth grader who wants to help spread the word on climate change. He believes that the slogan quoted in the title of this post is the kind of sticky message that could create a “positive epidemic that gets more people involved in stopping global warming.” I have been working on this goal since before Will was born and I haven’t come up with an effective sticky message yet, so I figured it was time to give Will and his generation a shot. If you like this message please spread it and maybe it will push us over the tipping point and keep the train from hitting us. If you think you have a stickier message please post it as a comment or contact Will directly at the email he provides below (posted with permission).
Dear Mr. Lashof,
Hello, I am Will Hadley, an eighth grader at  Junior High School. I think that the number of people who believe in and appreciate the seriousness of global climate change needs to be raised in order for humans to fully make progress towards a greener future. I think that I know a way to help with this. Some information on my proposal will help you decide if you would like to help me.
In my English class, we have been learning about positive epidemics as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, The Tipping Point. In the book, positive epidemics are described as good things or messages that spread rapidly among many people, much like real epidemics. Gladwell also tells us that there are three conditions that have to be right for the epidemic to form: “The law of the few” or the people involved in spreading the epidemic, “the stickiness factor” or the thing that is spreading and whether or not it “sticks” to people, and “the power of context” or the circumstances in which the epidemic forms. As a project, my class has decided to create our own positive epidemics to try to help fight against world problems. I chose climate change as my problem. According to The Guardian article “The new IPCC Climate Change Report makes Deniers Overheat”, 19% of people do not believe in global warming despite 95% of scientific research supporting the claim for human caused global warming. Even more people simply do not care about the climate. I believe that it would greatly aid the fight against climate change if everybody could agree that it’s happening, and that is what i’m trying to do here with this epidemic.
I am a big fan of your work with the NRDC and especially of your blog. On this blog, you often give proof of climate change and debunk deniers. I chose you to spread my epidemic for this reason. Your work relates to what I am trying to prove, and you could also help me to create the law of the few. You could spread my message to the people who could make it an epidemic. I have tried to create the stickiness factor myself by writing a simple, memorable, concrete slogan. My sticky message is “Those who doubt the existence of global warming are ignoring the train that’s coming to hit us. It’s coming, and it’s our fault.” It could not only convert some skeptics but might also convince everybody that global warming is a horrible problem. It could even just remind people to try to limit their carbon emissions. Hopefully, you could help me make a positive epidemic that gets more people involved in stopping global warming.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I think that we need to start working on a cleaner future by lowering the number of global warming skeptics. It would be great if you used my “sticky message,” but I understand if you cannot.
If you would like more information, contact me at email@example.com
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