The planet really needs a new press agent, ad firm, and some really good spin doctors. For years I’ve been trying to figure out how we went from the 1970s (yea!, Earth Day) to the 90s (Global Warming sucks) to now where Congress recently switched back from bio degradable cups and plates to styrofoam. More significantly, a majority of Americans now believe that the threat of climate change is exaggerated or untrue, and most of them seem to be in Congress. God help us. Or I guess, that’s actually the plan now.
Maybe the problem lies in the fact environmentalists make lousy marketers. Lovely people environmentalists, but gosh they can be boring at times. And their intuition about framing an issue or picking a rallying cry seems to leave something to be desired. Exhibit A, this article in the WSJ recently.
Contrast this to the Right Wing marketing machine. I don’t know if Republicans are inherently anti-environment. I mean heck, the first real political conservationist was Teddy Roosevelt. And while I’m no linguist, one would think that to be a Conservative would imply the root: To Conserve. Maybe better to keep the earth as is, in case we need it later? Alas, the environment was rather innocently landed on as a convenient boogeyman for the right. By getting people to be against something, you can make them for something else, namely your re-election and the huge bags of money you will be handed by those that are stealing from the people’s shared treasure and turning it into private treasure. Evil, but smart. It’s very clever when you can get the populace to vote their own economic disinterest and still get them to thank you for it. And the marketing has been damn good. Environmentalists (sounds like terrorists) were once hailed as non-partisan do-gooders along the lines of a Susan G. Komen supporter. Today, they are left-wing, liberal nut job tree-hugger, granola eating cartoon characters that hate America.
There is some hope from the marketing world. It seems puny in comparison to the minds and money marshalled against it, but 1% For The Planet, for one, is putting a new face on things. 1% FTP encourages businesses to give 1% of their revenue to the environment. They also have a sense of humor!
It’s time to take the (gardening) gloves off and do a little respectful, polite and factually based battle with those that wish the planet, and therefore all of us, ill. Or better yet, we could just hire Frank Luntz.