For our final webinar of Season 3 on Wednesday, May 19th, we are honoured to feature bestselling author and award-winning public relations professional, James Hoggan.
A tireless advocate for ethics in public discourse and Chair of the David Suzuki Institute, Hoggan founded the influential online news site DeSmog, named one of Time Magazine’s best blogs in 2011. Hoggan became so disenchanted with disinformation on climate change in both the mainstream and social media that he began to reveal how much corporations mislead the public on climate issues. He discovered that strategies that mislead people are more developed and robust than those used to educate people with the facts. Hoggan is now championing new ways to speak, learn, listen and connect to overcome disinformation and polarization. His latest book, I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up, examines why people tend to shout at each other rather than listen to what science is trying to tell us about the climate emergency. Hoggan believes that honest differences of opinion lie at the heart of democracy. He supports that people hold strongly divergent goals and should challenge issues but they should be encouraged to take part in passionate discussion. “We need more warm-heartedness and more compassion,” says Hoggan. Without this shift, we will never successfully complete the journey to carbon neutrality by mid-century. Hoggan’s other books include: Do the Right Thing: PR Tips for a Skeptical Public and Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming.
Following Hoggan’s talk, there will also be short interviews with a variety of community voices, represented by Ella Kim, Naomi Leung and Charlene George, followed by extra time for a special in-depth Q+A session and discussion from noon to 12:30 pm.
- Ella Kim is a UBC Honours graduate in Sociology, Environment and Society. She will be starting her Masters degree in the Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology (REES) program at the University of Alberta in the fall. Her passions align with environmentalism and social justice, and her recent research interests have been focused on just transitions for workers and communities that will be impacted by green industry shifts. Kim is also currently a volunteer policy analyst for the BC Council for International Cooperation’s youth-led climate change branch. Through her time as a volunteer, she has worked on a survey regarding the climate change related concerns and opinions of BC youth, and a green jobs database for Canadian youth. Ella will share how youth are trying to move the climate change dialogue forward and why it matters.
- Naomi Leung or 梁珮恩 is a 17 year old climate and racial justice activist. She is a second generation immigrant with parents from Malaysia and Hong Kong and she is a settler on un-surrendered Musqueam and Tsawwassen First Nations territories in Richmond, BC. Naomi is a member of Sustainabiliteens, a movement of youth climate strikers across Metro Vancouver driven by climate justice, who advocated for the passing of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan in 2020. She also coordinates Climate Education Reform BC, a youth-led organization determined to see an educational system that prepares students for the Climate Crisis.
- Charlene George is a member of the t’Sou-ke peoples on the west coast of Vancouver Island and a cultural guide. She believes we must strive to better balance our relationship with each other, Western and Indigenous knowledge systems, and ways of knowing.