I have been thinking, a lot, lately, about the difficulties surrounding green communication. And wondering why it has been so hard to engage citizens persuasively on critical issues such as climate change, or biodiversity loss, or deforestation, or the looming water crisis. It is a no brainer that the happy survival of our species depends on a timely resolution of those issues. Yet, we are taking action at snail pace, collectively. It occurred to me that we may be dealing with a problem of confusion of levels. Let’s take climate change for instance.
While we are all concerned by climate change, the locus of action for that broad problem, does not lie in the individual citizen’s hands, but rather with executive entities that deal with global issues: international organizations such as the U.N., legislative and policy making agencies such as the Senate, and Congress, and the Presidential Cabinet, and environmental watchdogs such as NRDC, or the Sierra Club.
As a citizen, I cannot control climate change, hence appeals to my conscience, and admonitions to take action, do little other than make me feel guilty, powerless, and frustrated. Instead, I want to be talked to in terms that I can relate to my normal, everyday life. Exercising my rights as a citizen and voting yes on new laws to mitigate climate change, yes. Participating in a New Deal on climate and energy, and joining the green work force, yes. Buying green products at no extra costs, why not? Reducing my energy consumption, to stretch my shrinking budget, absolutely.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Individuals with a highly developed conscience, who are willing to take on the challenges of the world, and act as beacons of consciousness for the whole. These are a minority, however.