You were the 12,353rd supporter to take action on ‘Stand Up to Koch Brother Obstruction’! ~ Environmental Defense Fund
Every day, I get as many messages from environmental organizations I support (like the EDF) as from marketers or friends. That’s a fact that worries me, although as a blogger, I am contributing to the ‘messaging’ without any real way to be sure that it leads to anything other than more of the same. (I have the same concern about Facebook and other social media, and if someone wants to talk me out of that, I’m all ears.)
It isn’t that signing petitions and financial support, or even my 14-mile Walk for Our Grandchildren or the Climate Ride, aren’t important or effective ways to keep the focus (and heat) on the issues. But we would be mistaken if we imagine these actions are sufficient given the acceleration of climate change and the big money obstructionism throughout all levels of government. Not to mention that email blitzes about the environment are (mostly) preaching to the converted. (Probably this one, too, but one can hope.)
Military metaphors are not my thing, but we ARE in a fight to capture the attention (dare I say, imagination) of a distracted, wired, over-worked population about the social and economic turbulence ahead wrought by climate change, if only to help them think clearly about its direct impacts on them and those they care about.
I believe all of us working on environmental issues could usefully study the Don’t Text and Drive PSA campaign now at your neighborhood theater. Normally, I zone out while commercials run but these were impressively skillful: clever copy, great music, attractive young people (the obvious target, though by no means the only texting-addicted.) See It Can Wait and others, readily available on You Tube.
Until recently (thank you, Bill McKibben et al for removing the gloves), U.S. environmentalism has been a “polite movement” (says journalist, Mark Dowie). As Americans, we have been conditioned to prefer the simple and easy to swallow (however dire the reality), e.g. Top 10 Ways to Save the Planet and its ilk. We won’t ‘tweak’ out way out of this mess with ‘no interruption in service.’ Small steps matter as long as there are many of them, and of many different kinds, consistently applied (see the Transition movement). As activists, we have to be as tough and relentless as the Brothers Koch, as savvy and creative as the best marketers, in making the facts known, our ideas heard, our actions powerful and enduring.