Rather than bang the drum of doom tell tales of how to do things right:
The Earth Day Flogging, David Chernushenko, The Ottawa Citizen, 22 April 2008.
I have read a lot of Earth Day writings in the past two weeks. This one caught my attention by offering an optimistic way forward (I tend to the doom and gloom path but there were so many I began to feel like one of the crowd rather than being lost).
Sure, every item in that list is true. Some scary things were even left out. Our wasteful society is unsustainable, and we are all guilty of excess, at least occasionally.
But does a public flogging lead anyone to change? Will one more desperate plea to save the planet and ourselves actually inspire anyone, let alone entire societies and economies to adopt the progressive practices required?
Not likely. What might work, though - and this may be our last big hope - is to inspire people to pursue a better way of living. To show them that they can have more of the good things in life, but that they may just want to tweak their ideas of what "having more" actually looks like and what the "good things" really are.
Now what does marketing have to do with Earth Day and saving the planet? Quite simply, it's time for us greenies to rebrand "environmentalism," sustainability and even Earth Day. It's time to focus on how great the future could be, not how bad.
To sell the possible, we can use the actual: stories and images of people, and things and places that already are. Everything we need exists somewhere already and, as economist and philosopher Kenneth Boulding put it, "anything that exists is possible."
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to anything. All ideas must be considered and understood first, and then tailored as required. What does work everywhere is "solution banking": online, "open source" spaces where people, all over the world, and free of charge, share what they have done and the lessons learned, in the hopes of contributing to the design of that "100-per-cent good" society and economy.
The "geography of hope" is being built on more than just hope. It is also a geography of inspiration and confirmation. These many green examples can inspire us, excite us, entice us, allow us to dream of something better, and to know that it really is achievable. That sounds like a green marketer's dream. That sounds like a way to make Earth Day one of celebration, not flagellation.
Here on the wet coast there are, as down the US west coast, many alternate lifestyles. And many of them include sustainable living options. With the addition of the web new ideas are being introduced weekly. And the voices have become quite small 'p' political.
Thinking of Miriam's concerns - most (possibly all) the burgeoning vineyards (available due to climate change) use organic methodologies - and use it as a selling feature, the gypsy moth eradication program is managed and operated by volunteers with Ministry guidance to be as non-toxic and directed as possible - because no one wanted airspraying of chemicals, fundraise to buy land for conservancy purposes - just completed a million dollar acquisition of old growth acreage, etc.
Of course there are opponents - here usually the realestate and land developer types. And reasonably priced housing for island employees gets harder to come by each year (prices have risen 20% annually for the past 20-years). But what I find most astounding is that the problems have largely been identified and there are groups working on most, if not all, of them. In this neck of the woods grass roots run deep and grow high.
Hopefully our example, not necessarily of our solutions, but of our concern and engagement will cross to the lights across the water (Barry leaves his porch light on at night for us ), get an urban component and spread ever outwards.
Did you know that a house and an apartment can create 50-100% of load power while decreases heating and cooling loads by the same amount? cut water consumption via greywater reuse and efficient appliances by two-thirds while effectively doing stage-1 waste treatment? build a heathy house without chemical or mold toxins while extending home maintenance cycles to 50-100 years? It is true. And there is more than one way to accomplish each goal.
Sustainability exists. Here a bit and there a bit. Time for more people to bring the bits together and get on with the 21st century.
And there are a ton of web site ideas and revenue streams in recreating our societal systems and behaviours for those looking for a coming bandwagon to jump aboard.
Edited by iamlost, 27 April 2008 - 08:06 PM.