Point 4: No screaming!

Pool cartoon. Illustration courtesy Ian Webster/CRED

Don’t overuse emotional appeals. They grab attention at first, but too much leads to emotional numbing because of what researchers call our “finite pool of worry.” In one study, farmers in Argentina rated how much they worried about political risks, weather and climate risks, and economic risk. They were then shown a climate forecast predicting a rain shortage the next spring. As their concern about climate increased, their concern about political instability diminished, even though the political situation had not changed.

This principle also helps explain why global warming concerns shrank as economic concerns rose after last fall’s financial crisis.