I was so pleased yesterday. Not only was Obama visiting France, my home country, but he also made more exciting declarations regarding his vision of American climate policy:
“The United States is a very powerful country. But, as I said before, an issue like climate change is not one we can solve by ourselves. It’s going to require an international effort.
Not only are we going to have to look at what countries like France and Germany are already doing and making some very difficult choices to deal with their carbon emissions and to make energy more efficient, but we’re also going to have to talk to countries like China and India, and it’s going to be very hard for us to ask them to take seriously these issues if they see that wealthy nations are not taking them seriously.
And that’s an example of where we have to present a common front and a common agenda in order to get all the countries in the nation — all the countries in the world involved in what is going to be an enormous undertaking.
My goal is just to make sure that, whether it’s our European allies, whether it’s Muslim countries, whether it’s our friends in Asia, that people feel as if the United States is taking their interests, their concerns into account, and that we are interested in the prosperity and peace of ordinary people, and not just seeing our foreign policy only through the lens of our own security.”
Absolutely. It is up to the US to take the lead. No more, ‘we are not making any move, unless you – China, India – go first’.
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Full length video of Barack Obama‘s Berlin speech:
Because, you need to watch him to fully get the power of his words. I know some of you question his ability to deliver on his promises. I don’t.
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Today, in Berlin, Barack Obama delivered another historic speech, “A Word that Stands as One“.
Obama's Berlin Speech - Credit: Michael Dalder, Reuters
Three times, he shared his sense of urgency about the need for the world to ‘stand as one‘, regarding climate change:
As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya…
In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them…
This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations – including my own – will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one…
At this point, just words, but such a welcome relief from the kindergarten squabbles at the last G8 Summit, and on the Senate floor. My heart was touched. And I feel hope again. How about you?
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It was only a matter of time before open source made its way to science. InnoCentive has made the jump, and quite successfully, according to today’s article in the New York Times. InnoCentive connects companies, academic institutions, public sector and non-profit organizations, all hungry for breakthrough innovation, with a global network of more than 145,000 of the world’s brightest minds on the world’s first Open Innovation Marketplace™.
Cross-pollination and crowdsourcing, all wrapped up in one place for global problem solving, I love it! The world has never been smaller . . .
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Further evidence of the Green Power of Shrinking Wallets is reported in Nielsen‘s last consumer survey and related Associated Press article:
Reminding us once more of what behaviorists have known for a long time. Consequences, not admonitions, are most effective at changing behaviors.
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Posted in Green Psychology, tagged bees problem, climate change, food crisis, future, Global warming, green, oil addiction, peak oil, sustainability, uprisings, water shortage on July 16, 2008 |
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Chaos is scary. When faced with uncertainty and doom, our first reaction is to want to control. Imagine for a second, that we are still masters of the universe. And can, will whip our climate and other natural phenomena, into shape. Dammit!
Maybe now is the time, to stop deluding ourselves. Like the addicts that we are, shouldn’t we admit, finally, to our powerlessness. And embrace the reality that is being thrown at us. Oil, more and more elusive and out of our range. Food, no longer so abundant. Water, soon to become like gold. Bees refusing to pollinate. Angry mobs rising all over, because life is not fair.
I imagine a future when we will be in charge of our destiny, again. Until then, let us surrender, and let go of our addiction.
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Remember John Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign? Mr. Kerry may have been accurate in his portrayal of issues, but his message got lost into too many nuances. I am afraid the same is happening with climate change. Each day, new information gets thrown at us, that elaborates on, denies, or tempers previously released scientific facts. The picture that emerges, although more complete, becomes increasingly difficult for the average person to grasp. In one ear, out the other.
Staying with the presidential campaigning analogy, we all know from history, that the winning candidate is not necessarily the most qualified for the job, but instead the one most able to win the crowds with a clear, persuasive, and relevant message. The problem with the climate message is the absence of a dominant voice. Even Al Gore‘s once far reaching speech is getting drowned in a cacaphony of conversations from various experts and random people with opinions to share. The best way I know to counter that deplorable situation is to turn to the masters of mass communication. Good advertising professionals know the virtues of repeating over and over simple messages that stick and persuade.
Am I the only one to be confused?
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Posted in Communication Strategies, tagged antismoking campaigns, Big Oil, climate change, Exxon Mobil, France's smoking ban, Global warming, special fossil fuel interests, sustainability, tobacco industry on July 2, 2008 |
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Everywhere we walk in Paris, we are having to contend with a new public nuisance. Cigarette smoke. I had heard about France’s smoking ban earlier this year. It had seemed like a good thing. People not being able to smoke in public spaces. What I did not realize, is the ban applies to enclosed public spaces, not open air areas such as terraces, or sidewalks. Rather than being discouraged by the new law, Parisians have merely transferred their habit from indoors to the outdoors. And using the cigarette as a new excuse to socialize and make friends in strange places. The main reason is smoking is still considered the social norm in France.
Compare with California, where smoking is seen as a personal liability, that makes it hard if not impossible for people to find a date or an apartment. Why such a difference? What made people change their behavior? The response lies in the mass media campaigns that took place since 1988, when a state law increased the cigarette tax, and allocated some of that revenue to establish a comprehensive, statewide tobacco education and prevention program, including a significant mass media campaign.
What does this mean for climate change and other global environment issues? Laws can only go so far. Consumption addicts of all kinds will find ways to circumvent them to satisfy their needs. Better still, are smart, sustained nationwide education and persuasion efforts, of the kind conducted by the anti-tobacco campaigns, that turned smoking into a socially inacceptable practice, and placed the blame on the tobacco industry, not the people. The following are some key learnings from ‘Mass Media Antismoking Campaigns: A Powerful Tool for Health Promotion‘, a paper published in the Annals of Medicine.
- Not all antitobacco advertising is effective. Focus group research has suggested that commercials that expose the tobacco industry’s manipulation of young persons  or focus on themes of secondhand smoke and cigarette addiction are the most effective strategies for reducing tobacco use . Campaigns based on the short-term or long-term health effects of smoking are less effective 
- Dorfman and Wallack  have explained that the most effective counter-advertisements are those that: “challenge the legitimacy and credibility of the industry marketing the product. These are counter-ads, because they represent a clear transfer from the personal to the policy environment and focus on the corporate entity or public policy as a major player in that environment.”
- Advertisements that directly attack the tobacco industry as the source of the tobacco problem; expose the way in which the industry manipulates, deceives, seduces, and addicts children and adolescents; and highlight the way the industry maintains adult smokers as life-long drug addicts to make profits are effective in challenging the legitimacy and credibility of the industry. Moreover, these themes frame tobacco as a problem because it kills people, not because those younger than 18 years of age use it. The theme of tobacco industry manipulation also demonstrates and reinforces the concept that smoking is a behavior that undermines adolescents’ independence, reduces their control over life decisions, and makes them victims of the industry’s deceit. Rather than mobilizing young persons to rebel against directives not to smoke, campaigns based on these themes empower them to rebel against an industry that is making its profits by deceiving them; seducing them; manipulating them; addicting them; and, ultimately, killing them.
- The tobacco industry knows that messages aimed solely at changing individual behavior and focused mainly on health-related themes are ineffective in challenging social norms and are therefore unlikely to be effective in reducing tobacco use. When they were unsuccessful at eliminating mass media anti-smoking campaigns, the industry and its supporters instead attempted to control the content of the campaigns, ensuring that the result is a program that will have little ultimate impact.
I can’t help but seeing the parallels between the tobacco industry and Big Oil. It is time to expose the scandals of big oil producers and other special fossil fuel interests getting richer by the seconds at the expense of our overall well being. Time to show the dirty work of the lobbyists working for them. Time to show them as the real perpetrators, and us as the victims of their manipulations. Time to negate the effects of their ad campaigns with even better counter campaigns. Time to portray them as the drug pushers that they are, and to unveil their deliberate strategies to maintain us, the citizens, in a state of unsustainable dependence on oil and non renewable resources. If you have not yet seen the latest double spread ad from Exxon Mobil ads in the New York Times, it is worth taking a look.
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