Monday, April 23, 2012

Dear UofCS, it's really too late to be talking about light bulbs


Union of Concerned Scientists asked:

Unchecked  Working in my garden and tending to my lawn.
Unchecked  Lying on a beach or teeing it up on the golf course.
Unchecked  Playing in the snow or reading a book by the fireplace.
Unchecked  Playing video games or watching the latest blockbuster.
Unchecked  Enjoying a book on my e-reader.

Hi UofCS, I love your work. However, this particular question misses the mark.

You see, as I matter of fact, I do not spend my free time in any of the activities you have suggested. I spend my free time advocating for bold climate change mitigation policies. I spend my free time teaching the science of global warming, or writing articles describing the science of global warming that draw hundreds of thousands of views. Such as this one:


Your current messaging suggests that this problem can be solved via individual actions. You and I both know that is not the case.

China will build enough coal-fired power plants this year to relegate all our lightbulb changes to a footnote. There are powerful interests at work who are bent on burning every pound of fossil fuel available on this great Earth, in the name of their own profit. Turning down our living room's thermostat will do naught to stop them. We have to consider the stark reality and ask, what will it take to stop these people from destroying humanity, from destroying themselves?

We need to teach the science of global warming which such conviction in our voice, and with such unbearable clarity, that our fellow Americans will join us in Washington the next time. They will have to courageously stand to be arrested in the mist civil disobedience actions, along with me, my friends, and McKibben and Hansen.

How does talking about light-bulbs-talks helps this? I don't think it does.

I would invite you to consider pivoting to a different messaging frame for your next cycle.

Teach people the science. Teach them the true extent of the dangers of the A1B scenario we are tracking at the moment. Then teach people how to teach the science and find them stages and audiences. Teach them how to defend those who teach against the brutal slanderous attacks of our opponents. But above all, teach them that if we are to you get out of this crisis, they will have to be more implicated in the politics of their country than a mere vote every two years.
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