Posts Tagged ‘environmental leadership’

Back from a local training meeting for Obama volunteers. The room was overflowing with people, all fired up to go out and mobilize voters. This was my first time attending a political meeting, and the first time for many of the people there as well.

I was thinking about the article I wrote regarding the Psychological Challenges and Opportunities of Global Warming, and the difficulty of getting people from being ‘concerned and unmoved‘ to being ‘concerned and moved‘. What is different this time with Obama, that moved me into action? Maybe there is something to be learned here, that can be applied to behavioral environmental srategies.

The Power of Charismatic Leadership to Inspire Environmental Action

What made me drive to the local Obama headquarters this morning was my enthusiasm for the man himself. I feel a personal connection with him, his values, and his journey. I respond to his charisma, and his qualities as an extraordinary leader, and uniter of all people. This morning I felt the power of the crowd, of no longer being just one person, but part of something greater, a chance to participate in history.

And I have to agree with Michael Oppenheimer again, that ‘strong leaders can at least create the conditions where attention is paid to a key issue like global warming‘. What I may not be able to accomplish on my own, I may do as a follower of a charismatic leader such as Obama, and as a member of the (environmental) community that he is creating.

This, by the way, does not mean, that I am to wait for Obama to get elected to do my personal share of the fight against global warming.

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Robert Reich’s ‘Divided Mind’

Robert Reich was the guest on NPR’s All Things Considered a few days ago. The occasion was the release of his new book, “Supercapitalism”. His point, about the divided mind of the consumer and citizen really caught my attention. We are all two people, according to him. A consumer at the mercy of capitalism, and a citizen at the service of democracy. The consumer has taken over, and the citizen is no longer doing its job. We need to reevaluate our priorities and work on strengthening our democracy.

The challenges of being a good green citizen

This whole business of consumer versus citizen takes a special significance in the current environmental battle. Robert Reich made the following argument. You may be willing to take all the steps to become a good green citizen, but how do you know that you are not going to be just one amongst a small minority? In which case, you run the risk of making all these sacrifices for nothing. In the absence of a federated effort amongst citizens, that lets you know that we are all in it together, nothing is going to change, you have very little incentive to take action. Point well taken, Mr Reich.

The power of green networks

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about the power of small acts and individual action. I even called Rosa Parks to the rescue. I was trying to convince myself that whatever I do, no matter how small, does matter. Robert Reich called my bluff. The real truth is, I am a consumer first, and something is going to have to happen at the collective level, in order for the green citizen in me to spring into real action. Maybe Karel Baloun‘s got something going after all? ‘I am Green’, his new application on Facebook is an attempt at using the power of social networks to bring together green minded folks, and inspire them to help each other become green citizens.

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