Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reflections on 350.org workshop yesterday, and Wild and Scenic as a whole

Quick post.

Jamie and May from 350.org did a workshop yesterday afternoon, again at City Hall. The presentation was pretty much a report of "here was our goal, here's what we did and how we went about it, and here's what happened", along with showing a couple of the short videos they'd had made - i.e., it was a retrospective.

(which was a little frustrating to me, since my interest is in what we do moving forward; but, as one member of the audience made clear via her use of the Q&A bandwidth, it's hard to make a discussion like that work, in a venue where you can't have the "law of two feet" working for you.)

The 350.org movement's goal was to burn 350 into peoples' minds, and give that position (keep atmospheric CO2 levels below 350 ppm) more support - to relieve pressure (from the less-informed) on the negotiators at Copenhagen. And it did help, though obviously not to a make-or-break extent.

They didn't try to deliver a msg of "doom if over 350" since they felt the public already understood that (I disagree; again, see the "Tobis distribution" figure), instead it was more of a "happy society under 350" one.
(with lots of bicycles, which IMO is iffy, a tribalism trigger point)

They did some very smart things - they used students, who have a stake in the future and work for cheap, and they used Google, Facebook etc to find existing groups (enviro and others) in all countries and worked through them, and didn't go in overbearingly saying "our issue is more important than yours", instead they'd say "and along with your message, can you also deliver this one" (which is important to you because...) - i.e. the most direct effective route wasn't a straight line.

So - they did a great job for the goal that they had. But again, I was listening and thinking "how is this applicable to *other* climate goals?" (narrowing the Tobis distribution, instilling epistemological immune systems (ie pseudoscience bullshit detectors), etc) and wasn't sure that much of it *was* re-usable that way - it was more geared toward "if you're doing a [generic raise-public-awareness-of-something environmental] campaign, here's a way that worked"; which implicitly downgrades climate change to just another environmental issue. Which is the beef I have with SYRCL, and the Wild and Scenic film fest as a whole...more another time.

IMO the assumption too many non-climate-science people seem to have, is that this *is* just another environmental issue. They don't grasp the nature and drive of the organized resistance, nor the consequences if we fall short, nor the need to convey the urgency - which, IMO, can't be done in a happy-happy way any more than a war can be sold that way.

2 comments:

max said...

Anna, thanks for taking the time for your detailed reflections on the past weekend. I just wanted to let you know that I'm looking forward to reading your "more another time" on the interface between climate activism and other environmental issues, though I think in a sense I may be on the other side of the fence than you, in the sense that I think it's important not to denigrate other environmental causes in an all-or-nothing, potentially losing bet on staving off climate catastrophe.

Anna Haynes said...

Thank you Max for your reading & your comment.
(I'm cogitating...)