Climate Communication Narratives:  
Leading the way. . . with climate denial shibboleths

This cartoon — which first appeared in The Economist last summer during the debt ceiling crisis — is even more apt today regarding climate change, especially during U.S. presidential primaries, peak season for pandering.

Unfortunately, for many, climate denial has hardened into a conservative shibboleth.  

“A shibboleth is a kind of linguistic password: A way of speaking . . . that is used by one set of people to identify another person as a member, or a non-member, of a particular group.” (from The Story of the Shibboleth).

The term derives from Judges 12:5:6:    

The men of Gilead would ask, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” they then said, “Very well, say Shibboleth.”*   If anyone said “Sibboleth”, but could not pronounce it [correctly], they would then seize him and kill him. . . (New Jerusalem Bible)

Today, most Republican candidates seem to believe that failure to articulate correct climate denial — or at least its weak sister, climate agnosticism — will lead to a similar fate, politically.    The latest example:   Rick Santorum, who prides himself on educating his audiences,  expounded at length on the topic in New Hampshire.

——————————————

* The term originates from the Hebrew word shibbólet (שִׁבֹּלֶת), which literally means the part of a plant containing grains, such as an ear of corn or a stalk of grain[Wikipedia].

5 thoughts on “Climate Communication Narratives:  
Leading the way. . . with climate denial shibboleths

  1. Pingback: ClimateBites

Leave a Reply