Why We Will Never Shut Up
Words by: Héloïse Hooton, Founder (as told to Anna Hart, Writer)
I was asked recently what the point of all this talk about climate justice is, if we’re not seeing any action. But I don’t believe these words are wasted. If we stop trying to educate people about sustainability, if we halt our efforts to communicate about climate justice…the climate crisis doesn’t go away. We can’t pretend this isn’t happening, and if it ever seems our words are falling on deaf ears, we need to shout louder, and find other voices to join our own. Without education, conversation, encouragement and debate, climate injustice will simply worsen, silently making the world a worse place to live until life becomes intolerable.
I understand that for sustainability pioneers - and at a purpose-driven B Corps like Hooton this applies to many of our clients - it’s not always easy to sustain the energy and hope they need in order to keep on fighting for a better future. Hope is a resource, and like all resources, it needs to be managed and sustained. But the great thing about hope is that as long as we keep talking, we can’t run out of hope. I was recently struck by the words of the young climate justice activist Mikaela Loach, author of It’s Not That Radical: “Hope is an active stance we choose to take in this world. We build hope when we come together in action.” Every time we engage in the issues affecting our planet, we are building collective hope, the sort of hope that eventually creates change. If we ever feel like giving up, this is precisely the moment when we need to talk more, shout louder, communicate more.
No society ever improved in silence. Before every single monumental moment of societal change: from huge 20th century historic milestones like the Suffragette movement in the UK and civil rights movement in the US to more recent events like the #metoo movement and ongoing fight for trans rights, there have been a chorus of voices. These voices grow stronger and stronger until they are too loud and too consistent to ignore. Education and persistence is the key to positive change, and communication is the catalyst. If something is worth saying, it’s worth saying again and again…there is always someone who hasn’t heard it before, or someone who hasn’t grasped it fully until now. Good communication comes down to three things: being comfortable, being credible, and being consistent. And by consistent, I mean never wavering in our efforts to be heard.
This is why I believe positive, proactive PR is such a vital force in the fight for climate justice. We have clients with the vision and knowledge and technology and skill to transform the planet, and it’s our job to help get their message across. At Hooton, our role is not to sell, but to educate. By making education our end-goal, we communicate more compassionately, effectively and persistently - and we have the results to show for it. Selling is an impressive skill, but educating is a duty. Framed like this, we have no ego attached to what we do, just conviction in our clients and their plans for the planet.
I see PR as a responsibility and a privilege, and it’s what gets myself and my team out of bed every morning. Every day there are people we learn from, who inspire us, and who we inspire in return. We build bridges between journalists and decision-makers, and brands who want to change the world. We form bonds, we educate, we collaborate, and we deepen these bonds further. Without communication, there is a danger that we run out of hope, and when we give up on hope, we stop progress in its tracks. So this is why we’ll keep on pushing for progress, helping our clients build their brands, brands that the world needs, brands that make the world a better place. It’s not true that talking can’t change the world. History has taught us that talking is the only thing that changes the world.
So shutting up is not an option.