I have always had some gripes with the environmental movement. Not in the environment or sustainability, but the people who claim to be environmentalists. For some reason I was bothered by the way they framed their message. This “higher than thou” attitude about how I and the rest of the world had to change their ways or we are all going to ruin the planet.
Then one day I saw a quote from the doctor and author Michael Crichton saying that environmentalism was the religion of the 21st century. This basically nailed down my problem with the way environmentalists try to convert the rest of us.
It shouldn’t be that hard, everyone wants open spaces, clean air, and clean water right? So why can’t those who claim to want to save it, convince the rest of us in a way that doesn’t drive us away?
Then “Environmentalism is Dead” began to answer that question. Their overall message that most environmentalists seem blinded by their belief that the environment is in danger, and therefor can’t effectively work with everyone else to solve the problem. I have felt for a long time that environmentalists can’t effectively communicate to the majority because they couldn’t find level playing field to discuss the subject and surrounding factors that come in to play.
The ultimate goal that Shellenberger and Nordhaus seems a much more practical idea to me. By recognizing that everything is intertwined, environmentalists should be concerned with more than just the environment. And through that approach they could reach more people and get more done.
This is illustrated by Schendler and his workings with an Aspen ski resort in, Little Green Lies , the road ahead is not a clearly marked path. He is constantly trying to adapt his approach as new technologies are made available. Not everything is going to work and not everyone is going to jump on board right away. Does that mean it won’t work? Who knows? But is the solution to stand outside the resort and picket it? Probably not. The wealthy string pullers of Aspen would probably pass a city law against picketers. Far more is getting done at the ski resorts as a result of his being there and trying to work with the system.
So what does that mean for us, the communicators? It isn’t trying to get equal coverage of both sides of a scientific debate, but rather recognizing all the parties that have a stake in the issue(which again is really all of us), and try to find solutions that address all the angles.
7 Comments so far
Leave a comment