Let’s keep this simple, because simple communications are a key dimension of Environmentalism 3.0
We are living in an important time. The history of environmentalism provides context. It can be summarized as three key periods:
ENVIRONMENTALISM 1.0 – UNDER THE RADAR
Recorded history does not include widespread concern about the impact of the human race on the earth’s natural processes, until the industrial revolution was in full swing in the 1800s. The earliest voices may have been taken seriously, but they seem to have had little effect on human behaviour.
ENVIRONMENTALISM 2.0 – DEBATE & STRUGGLE
From approximately 1960 until 2015, with world population growing from 3 billion to 7 billion people, concern about pollution became widespread. Governments all over the world passed laws. Thousands of environmental groups were formed. Scientists and environmentalists were releasing many more significant books and articles. Oil and coal companies used their great wealth to fight vigourously to confuse the issues and defend their dominant position in the global economy.
By the 2000s numerous alternative technologies had been proven to work and their cost became economically viable. In 2015 worldwide policymakers met in Paris and signed an accord that established climate change as one of the earth’s most pressing problems and our highest priority for coordinated international action.
ENVIRONMENTALISM 3.0 – SOLUTIONS
Today governments are intervening in the marketplace to help implement solutions and smooth the transition from our oil and coal based economy to a clean tech world. Scientists believe we must act quickly to avoid very serious effects from climate change.
With 7.6 billion people, our planet is politically, economically and technologically diverse. We will need more than government intervention to meet the challenge. We need to continue to work together, to ramp up our efforts, and to communicate about success stories and best practices. We need to communicate simply, clearly, and focus on proven solutions for the highest priority problem areas: Buildings, transportation, power plants.
Please help celebrate the innovations and best practices of our modern clean energy heroes by visiting the clean energy blog on this site and sharing the information found there.
BASICS OF ENVIRONMENTALISM 3.0
• Emphasize communications on clean energy solutions and success stories.
• Keep it simple by focussing on the three key priorities: Buildings, vehicles, and power plants. Talk about actions, minimize philosophy.
• Explain things simply without jargon in non-partisan terms.
• Don’t debate the vested interest deniers, just hit them in the pocketbook. Some will only ever understand the language of lawsuits, fines, taxes, divestment, and boycotts.
• Provide updates on the problem but don’t dwell on doom and gloom – Talk solutions.
Another way to build commitment is to support opportunities for everyone to experience the beauty of our natural world. See this.
A note about non-partisan: This is the hardest for me. I think it’s critical to end the ‘us against them’ partisan battle re political parties. However we must call out stupid policies and shame political individuals by name (not by party) for continuing idiocy.
OK I’LL TAKE A BREAK FROM SOLUTIONS
& TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM
We’re glad for the science, but do we really need it?
It’s common sense. When you were a child with your family around a campfire if the wind shifted and the smoke blew in your face, your eyes got red and started hurting, or you started coughing. Nobody needed to tell you to move out of the smoke. You did it instinctively because your body was rejecting the smoke. Smoke is a foreign element for us.
The first time I ever tried a cigarette at about 10 years old with my buddies behind the schoolyard, I got dizzy and fell right out of a tree. Later I smoked for a few years thinking it was cool, but basically, smoke was a foreign intrusion, and after I quit I coughed up some ugly stuff for a few years, from the little cigarello things I’d been smoking. We can now point to an overwheming number of studies that prove that sucking smoke into our lungs causes lung cancer. Smoke is bad for humans. Duh.
This summer forest fires caused by heat, lightning or by careless people will be raging across North America, and a large number of other parts of the world. Our governments will send in firefighters to limit them, control them, or extinguish them. But what if they did the opposite?
What if instead, we sent people into the forest to start some more fires? I don’t mean a controlled burn. I mean what if we lit the world on fire in about a hundred places and then just stood back and watched it burn wildly out of control? For fun. You know, light the world on fire. Burn it all down. Would that be scary? Would that seem stupid?
Guess what? That’s basically what we’ve been doing. We started in the 1800s and we’ve been doing it ever since. I mean it’s controlled. We’re burning everything in nice sophisticated furnaces and boilers and carefully channeling the fire away from our faces, using smokestacks, but really we’ve lit the world on fire. And we haven’t just grabbed the local rotting firewood for this job, no we’ve gone deep underground for the good stuff. Down where trees and bushes have been rotting for millennia and have turned into oily, gaseous bubbling stuff that really burns well. It basically explodes when you light it up. It’s awesome.
Yup we’ve set the world on fire and we’re watching it burn and were talking a little about the damage it’s doing to our atmosphere and our kids lungs, and how it will help destroy all our water and food production, and spawn epidemics of deadly disease. We’re having a nice little chat.
But guess what? The party’s over. We now have better ways to keep warm and make electricity. It’s crazy to set the only planet we have on fire. Fire is dangerous and smoke is bad for us and for our home. So it’s time to put the fire out. I hope you’ll all join me. The earth has been on fire for 150 years. Let’s get rid of the oil and gas, and let’s put out the fire. Thank you.