The problem with “global warming”
We are facing what might be the greatest threat ever to the future of mankind.
And yet no one is marching in the streets, the outrage is largely intellectual and action is slow. (If you want to argue about the science, please visit the link above, this is a post about the marketing!)
Is the lack of outrage because of the population’s decision that this is bad science or perhaps a thoughtful reading of the existing data?
Actually, the vast majority of the population hasn’t even thought about the issue. The muted reaction to our impending disaster comes down to two things:
1. the name.
Global is good.
Warm is good.
Even greenhouses are good places.
How can "global warming" be bad?
I’m not being facetious. If the problem were called "Atmosphere cancer" or "Pollution death" the entire conversation would be framed in a different way.
2. the pace and the images.
One degree every few years doesn’t make good TV. Because activists have been unable to tell their story with vivid images about immediate actions, it’s just human nature to avoid the issue. Why give up something we enjoy now to make an infintesimal change in something that is going to happen far in the future?
Lady Bird Johnson understood this when she invested her efforts into a campaign against litter and pollution. The problem was easy to see. The messaging was emotional and immediate. You could see how your contribution (or efforts) mattered.
Because you don’t see your coal being burned (it accounts for more than 50% of US electricity) and because the stuff coming out of your car is invisible, and because you don’t live near a glacier, it’s all invisible.
Doesn’t matter what you market. Human beings want:
totems and icons
meters (put a real-time mpg or co2 meter in every car and watch what happens)
95% of the new ideas that don’t spread–even though their founders and fans believe they should–fail because of the list above.