President Obama Shifts Climate Change Messaging to Personal Health

He wants the message to hit home.

In a really clever messaging twist, President Obama is taking word out to Americans that climate change isn’t just about polar bears and Arctic ice. The impact of  climate change will be felt on your personal health.

Obama’s pitch began earlier this week, with a presentation at Howard University on Tuesday. He’s also been making the rounds of broadcast news programs, using personal anecdotes to bring his point home. When she was four years old, the Obamas had to take daughter Malia to the emergency room because her asthma caused her problems breathing. “Keep in mind that climate change is just one more example of how the environment will cause health problems, and I think most people understand that,” the President said.

He credits good health insurance with helping to correct the problem. But, according to CBS News, the number of people with asthma has grown to 26 million since 1980. And heatwaves that create additional ozone in the atmosphere are a contributing factor. The President adds that allergy season, flooding in Florida and other issues will affect everyone across the board.

“Part of what I’m trying to communicate here is that there’s a cost to inaction,” he added.

It’s a great strategy that recognizes that people are most passionate about the issues that hit home. So if people aren’t moved by the idea that we need the Earth to live on in the long term (??), then knowing that there could be medical issues and other consequences to climate change in the near term could be more compelling.

One little side note: Notice the same exact background on these CBS and ABC interviews. One or the other of those news outlets may have wanted to insist on a few different props in the back. Thoughts?

Image via Frederic Legrand – COMEO /