The Young Greens of Canada recently launched a new website emblazoned with the slogan “[Y]our parents f*cked up the planet – [I]t’s time to do something about it. [L]ive green, vote green.” Obviously, it is intended to provoke controversy, and it is arguably a tactical mistake. That being said, it is certainly factually true. The ancestors of those now alive helped to expand the fossil-fuel-driven society that is the fundamental cause of climate change. Most of them did so in ignorance of what the consequences would be, but that is no longer a legitimate possibility for those now alive. Faulty arguments from deniers aside, we all now know that climate change is real, dangerous, and caused by us. We have to stop. That being said, it would be more correct to say “our parents” or “all our parents” and to mention that, so far, we are all doing the same thing.
We certainly need a diversity in media campaigns to address climate change and, even if some people object to this one, I think there is some cause for raising the issue of responsibility. We need to move from a mindset where we pat ourselves on the back for walking to the grocery store or using a compact fluorescent light to one where we recognize the harm our emissions will cause to other people and take major steps to reduce them (while also demanding change in the economic and political structures within which we live).
Canada’s political system forces the Greens to engage from the outside. Whether you think this communication strategy will alienate more than it educates or not, that is clearly what the Young Greens are trying to accomplish here.