November 19, 2012

Climate Change, Government, and Pretty Things

I remember reading somewhere, during the election season, that Republicans were fretting about Obama making access to unemployment benefits and food stamps easier, when in fact all he had done was advertise the programs more effectively.

This is what I was thinking of when I read about Obama's not super eloquent press conference on climate change. The president "emphasized creating "a conversation across the country" to educate Americans and determine what they're really ready to commit to, policy-wise, on the issue." The article I linked there doesn't really talk about how that might be accomplished, other than President Obama making frequent speeches on the topic.

Which had me wondering.

I know the White House couldn't put up posters saying "Global Warming is Real!" without the right wing throwing a conniption and comparing it to Nazi propaganda. And it might just be a consequence of being in college that I think putting up posters is the solution to anything.

But I do feel like the government has much greater capacities for public education than it actually uses. Think about the health care reform law. For months and months after it passed, and still now, tons of people didn't even know what was in it, much less that they could sign up for special insurance pools to cover them while it went into effect. (You can, by the way. Sign up here.) The places that government provides information are frankly so scattered and poorly designed (think of the massive web of endless .gov websites which no one has ever heard of) that it's not very effective. I guess they have a lot of information to get out while trying to avoid charges of propaganda, but come on guys, do better.

So if the White House wants to start a national conversation to educate Americans on climate change, I really do think they should make some posters. Pretty ones. Which link to well-designed websites full of practical information. Seriously.

(This has been a bit of a rant. Sorry!)

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