April 21st, 2012

Ann Vole

How to focus environmental-concern media

Someone is starting an "ezine" on the environment and this is the advice I gave to this person:

I categorize media about the environment into 3 philosophies: 1) Here are the evil groups that cause the problems. If we have a united voice, they might change things. 2) Look at how wonderful the world is and how much damage is happening. Please care for the environment more. 3) Here are things you can do yourself. The items on the top of the list will do the most good because ____. Here are the resources you might need to do those things.

I could sum those up as 1) pass the buck 2) eye candy 3) instructions. I am only personally interested in #3 because I do not see any purpose of organizations other then to serve the desires of the people. Change can only happen when people change. The eye candy stuff can help young kids (before the age of 7 years old) to change their world view but after that age, few people change the focus of their life. For instructional information, I can further categorize them into focusing on "easy to do stuff" or on "the stuff with the greatest impact." If I am truly dedicated to saving the environment, the easy to do stuff is already known and implemented and useless to me. Now don't get me wrong, the "pass the buck" stuff is also important but only in the context of government officials and CEOs of companies reading scholarly articles by known leaders in providing practical solutions. Amory Lovins is an example of someone respected for providing solutions and giving scientifically validated solutions listed in order of greatest impact for the least cost (or usually how they can be both better and cheaper). Amory gets invited to speak to presidents and CEOs and does the most productive work in the "pass the buck" side of the equation. "Eye candy" aimed at introducing people like Amory to CEOs and government policy makers would be good but you need to be something they will see like an article in the "Fortune 500" magazine. I am not writing this to criticize but hopefully to influence you to pick content that will make a difference instead of just wasting paper and the time of people reading it when they could be doing something constructive instead.

So, who is your audience? Pick one of these three: 1) leaders and CEOs 2) Young kids 3) people already convinced they should do something.