Archives for November 2012

Market Segmentation 101 for Change Agents

four different big cats, eyes featured in layered horizontal strips red, brown, green and gold eyes

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One of the most powerful realisations an activist or change agent can have is that ‘one size does not fit all’ with respect to communication, and that people are scattered along a spectrum of values, awareness/issue literacy and motivation.

Advertisers and marketers have long known and practiced ‘market segmentation‘ but all too often, the communications approaches of the environment and sustainability movement (and of government) on such topics treat their audience as a single, amorphous mass – ‘the public’ – without understanding that different values may be in play at different times within different societal groups.

Messy, isn’t it? That’s why one size fits all is easier to do, even though it isn’t as effective.

In my work with other members of the Post Growth Institute, we recognised that people would respond differently to the idea of challenging the growth consensus.

For the purposes of this article, please suspend analysis of the content itself (as you may or may not agree with it) and instead focus on how the audience was segmented.

Working from an audience segmentation template developed by Dave Gardner for his documentary film ‘Growthbusters’, we fleshed this out with more nuances, and also created columns for each group and subgroup that set out:

  • Who They Are – what work are they doing/where are they at, how does it connect to post growth messages
  • Perception – how we want this audience to see and respond to us
  • Alignments, Clashes – where might this audience see our work aligning with theirs – or not?
  • Engagement Story – what’s in it for this audience, what’s the benefit?

Here are some examples of the subgroups from five major typologies of the ‘audiences’ we identified with respect to the Post Growth Institute, and how we conceived of them:

Allies

Subgroup: ‘Post Growth Ready’

Who They Are: people who grasp the concept of limits to growth, who may already be working in this space, or in the process of finding their way and figuring out if and how to actively engage.

Perception: the momentum around this is building – post growth is helping people connect the dots between issues and see the underlying story.

Alignments/Clashes: generally aligned/may prefer to maintain own turf.

Engagement Story: ‘you can align your work with a broader movement of groups and individuals and amplify the message’.

Potential Supporters

Subgroup: Health Professionals

Who They Are: people whose work connects with health impacts resulting as a consequence of uneconomic growth (obesogenic environments, disease vectors as a result of shifting climate patterns etc) psychologists, epidemiologists, dietitians/nutritionists, mental health practitioners, alternative health practitioners, public health policy makers.

Perception: post growth is highlighting how a growth agenda is giving us obesogenic environments, is fracturing communities and families who are facing work-life imbalance & time poverty; and connecting how this relates to social isolation and mental health issues; how this relates to the coming health/disease issues that will accompany climate change.

Alignments/Clashes: understand the environmental and social causes and impacts of health problems and disease; may be more holistic thinkers/may be focused on immediacy and urgency.

Engagement Story: ‘post growth is about treating the cause, not the symptoms’.

Receptive – Primary 

Subgroup: Silo Activists

Who They Are: people working across a range of environmental and social justice fields who are finding they aren’t making as much headway as they would like in terms of achieving outcomes (eg. poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation).

Perception: we hear what these people are saying, and we recognise growth erases the gains we make in each of our silos.

Alignments/Clashes: have environmental sensibilities, may or may not understand limits to growth/tend to focus on solution silos, not always systems thinkers; may be focused on immediacy and urgency.

Engagement Story: ‘turning part of your efforts to the growth issue will help you gain, rather than lose, any ground you make in your particular areas of work’.

Receptive – Secondary

Subgroup: The Dissatisfied

Who They Are: downwardly mobile middle class, savvy but disillusioned and maybe brave enough to help effect change. Currently unaware of limits to growth, often lament negative impacts of growth but may believe it’s unstoppable and necessary.

Perception: for a long time, I’ve had this nagging doubt and dissatisfaction, but I haven’t been able to put my finger on what it is; the post growth movement is asking the kind of questions I want answers to about how we could live differently and achieve life satisfaction.

Alignments/Clashes: concerned with quality of life issues, work life balance, time pressures/may be ‘caught’ in trappings of growth.

Engagement Story: ‘shifting away from uneconomic growth could make life easier and more satisfying’.

Resisters

Post Growth recognises that in all of the ‘resister’ segments, there will be those who do think differently and are receptive, even if their organisation or official position is not, and that ‘99%’ style rhetoric is unhelpful as it sets people up in a dynamic of being ‘adversaries’.

Subgroup: Non-Receptive Leaders/Decision Makers/Influencers

Who They Are: leaders and influencers who must continue to speak the status quo about the desirability of economic growth, although they may have doubts or articulate differently on a private level. They will most likely continue to voice support for GDP and economic growth until mainstream opinion shifts. Their continued growth rhetoric may contribute to increasing alienation of their constituents.

Perception: these post growth people don’t understand that its political/career suicide for me to speak of no growth – but they are offering other ways for my constituents/shareholders to think about success and prosperity, and that’s worth consideration.

Alignments/Clashes: want good outcomes for their constituents/have not yet questioned whether ‘growth’ and ‘uneconomic growth’ are different, or know how to determine this.

Engagement Story: ‘post growth is concerned with how to deliver a good life for your constituents, and to shape businesses that are responding to 21st century trends by embracing a broader definition of value, prosperity, quality of life, and success’.

There are many ways to potentially ‘slice and dice’ an audience, to characterise them and to delve into what kinds of messages might work best with particular groups – this is just how we did it, based on our own understandings rather than any formal research.

An interesting exercise that Post Growth could undertake would be to work out where these different groups fit within the Values Modes framework ie. Settlers (Security Driven), Prospectors (Outer Directed) and the Pioneers (Inner Directed), which is backed by extensive research.

In ‘A Heuristic for Values Narratives’, Chris Rose of Campaign Strategy advises that although segmentation is preferable, if its not possible then include a ‘hot button’ for each group (ie. something for everyone), which could be:

…“this makes us safe” (Settler), “it will make us successful” (Prospector), and “its ethically the right thing to do” (Pioneer)…Those are not the only ‘hot buttons’; there are dozens more…for example “it’s right because it’s following tradition/rules” (Settler), “it’s fun” (Prospector) and “it’s people finding their own way” (Pioneer).

simple map of values narrative requirements for each Values Mode - Settler, Prospector, Pioneer

Image credit – click image once, then click again to enlarge

Rose cautions that in a mixed group of all three major Values Modes types, participants’ responses in discussion may also include a ‘hot button’ that works for them, but not the other groups. This can set up a divisive dynamic where agreeing with the ‘hot button’ for one group potentially puts two groups offside; conversely, disagreeing with the first group’s ‘hot button’ may win the support of the others at the expense of the first.

When in doubt about communicating to a mixed audience, Rose recommends prioritising Settlers first, then Prospectors, then Pioneers. Everyone responds to safety and security messages. If there is confidence and receptiveness by the audience, then Prospector cues can be utilised, and finally Pioneers.

Knowing your audience, knowing how to communicate when you don’t know your audience; thinking about the issue from their perspective and how what you are doing might align or clash; and bottling the essence of your message in a way that resonates for them in an engagement story, are all critical to whether or not your message gains traction.

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The Flying Taboo and Carbon Reductionism

I’m about to go where few environmentalists and sustainability-types dare to tread – in defence of flying.

Wait! Wait! Hear me out.

I am not an apologist for the airline industry – we should be traveling mindfully, and flying only when there is no other way.

cover of Frank Sinatra's single 'Come Fly With Me'

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I’ve worked in the green/environmental movement for twenty years, I’m aware of the energy and resource impacts of flying, and I still see travel as one of life’s great pleasures, one of the most effective consciousness-builders and barrier-breaker-downers.

The issue of flight is a vexed, emotive question among even the greenest, who grapple with various deeply felt desires (even if they don’t admit it), especially if they’re in a discussion where the subtext is a game of environmental credibility one-upmanship. There is the feeling that any admission of just having flown, or being about to fly, now has to be accompanied by a justification or explanation.

Very few people working in environment and sustainability have renounced flying completely. Arguably those who have may have hamstrung their message and work with their admirable commitment to walk their talk. There is no getting away from the fact that there is a contradiction inherent in people who are espousing climate change mitigation to be flying around the globe. Yet if Al Gore had decided not to travel anywhere or use a computer, or make a movie, climate change may not have made it into the consciousness of people beyond the environment movement so quickly and effectively.

I once asked Mathis Wackernagel, co-creator of the Ecological Footprint concept, how he reconciled his work with his own footprint, particularly the carbon footprint associated with all the flying his work requires of him. My point to him was that surely part of his Footprint is justifiable because its being incurred for the ultimate benefit of us all? His response was no – the planet did not differentiate between flying by a Footprint messenger and flying by, say, a football player or a supermodel. And he would have to live with this situation and work out how he could best compensate for it. It was the answer I hoped he’d give, but I still believe there is a difference in the purposes for which C02 emissions are generated.

With genuine respect for others and their decisions and commitments around the issue of carbon and travel, I’d like to offer a view on behalf of people who need or want to travel, and especially those who can’t reasonably travel beyond their own country without flying.

While it is all very well for Europeans to talk about how they have given up flying, they can still get around by car and train to a multitude of different countries. Given my mob live on an island, there’s not really much other choice for us unless we are never to leave our country. Travel will once again be the domain only of the super-privileged who get more than four weeks’ leave a year to be able to afford the time to go somewhere by boat. Even to get to somewhere across my own country, which still lacks a fast train system, would take days by car just in one direction.

Most of us rarely have the time or the money to fly (or certainly to fly long haul, which for Aussies is on average a commitment of $AUD 2,000 and twenty four hours on a plane in both directions just to get there and back), and now there’s a pile of guilt when we do. It irks all the more to hear it from people who already got to do all their travelling before it became a carbon sin.

In 2011 I applied for a fellowship with the intent of studying communications approaches in the UK and was essentially told ‘you’re from Australia, don’t come – don’t fly’. It infuriated me. How about we ask some of our jetsetters to occasionally put the brakes on before the rest of us go into a state of self-denial?

In addition, while we get all uptight about flying, probably because it’s more visible, research by Gartner a few years back showed that the global IT industry* has a similar C02 impact to the aviation industry:

The global information and communications technology (ICT) industry accounts for approximately 2 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a figure equivalent to aviation…

So…are we all also willing to switch off, shut down, disconnect? I’m betting no – and I’m not.

The good news is there are many other things we could stop doing that are wasteful first before giving up travel for pleasure and connecting with family and friends.

Here are five examples of massively wasteful uses of fossil fuels that we could/should be abandoning if we want to adopt a carbon reductionist approach (by ‘carbon reductionist’ I don’t mean reducing carbon – I mean perceiving and ranking activities according to carbon impact):

5.     ‘Frequent Flyer’ Processing

It is cheaper for prawns (shrimp) caught in Scotland to be sent to Thailand for shelling, and shipped back again for distribution in the UK, because the labour in Thailand is cheaper:

Instead of transporting UK-caught langoustines the relatively short distance from sea to factory to distributor, Britain’s leading seafood supplier will send them on a 13,000-mile round trip to Thailand – in the interests of cost-cutting.

The shellfish will then be repackaged and shipped back to the factory where they began their journey. Eventually, they will be breaded and sold across the UK.

Research by Germany’s Wuppertal Institute cited in Natural Capitalism revealed that a typical container of strawberry yoghurt clocked up over twelve thousand miles of transport in the process of being made, assembled into its pot and delivered to the point of sale.

The prawns and yoghurt are just two examples of a multitude of long and unnecessarily carbon-intensive supply lines.

How can we wag the metaphorical moral finger at someone who finally has the opportunity for the trip of a lifetime when dead crustaceans are clocking up more air miles?

4.     Urban Sprawl

As peak oil (ie. passing the point of access to cheap, easy to reach sources of oil) looms, dispersing places dependent on fossil-fuel transport systems is creating resource traps that will lock us into energy intensive living patterns.

Then there is the truly silly, the even greater nonsense of building new cities that NO ONE lives in:

And you were worried about your light bulbs.

3.     Boomerang Trade

In its 2009 report, the new economics foundation cited the following research into ‘boomerang trade’:

All around us still, are ships, lorries and planes passing in the night, wastefully carrying often identical goods from city to city across the globe and back again to meet ‘consumer demand’.

These are just some of the most recent examples involving the UK. For example, we export 4,400 tonnes of ice cream to Italy, only to re-import 4,200 tonnes. We import 22,000 tonnes of potatoes from Egypt whilst exporting 27,000 tonnes back again. Then there are the 5,000 tonnes of toilet paper heading from the UK to Germany, with over 4,000 tonnes returning, and 10 tonnes of ‘gums and jelly’ sweets going back and forth to Thailand. At the last count, 117 tonnes of ‘sweet biscuits, waffles and wafers, gingerbread and the like’ (to use the category used by trade statisticians), came into the UK, rumbling passed 106 tonnes headed in the opposite direction.

Utter nonsense. Award-winning US author and food activist Michael Pollan also cited examples of wasteful trade:

…we are exporting sugar cookies to Denmark while we import sugar cookies from Denmark: a mind boggling trade that one economist said, when he was told of it, “Wouldn’t it be more efficient to swap recipes?”

Boomerang trade is a whack in the back of the head for a would-be traveller trying to work out how to offset their trip by paying for carbon credits.

2.     Fossil Fuel Addiction

What is the carbon cost to GET the energy? To burn squillions of litres of fossil fuel to find, extract, refine, transport oil – not to mention the energy cost of invading countries to gain control of fossil fuel sources.

EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) anyone?

1.     Wasting Food

Agriculture is the biggest part of our collective Ecological Footprint globally, and when we throw away food, we throw away so much more than the food itself – food waste has massive amounts of embedded energy (and water and nutrient) in it.

Natural Resources Defense Council study showed that Americans throw away nearly half their food, $165 billion annually.

Love Food, Hate Waste calculated that the UK throws away over 7 million tonnes a year, over £12 billion.

Foodwise reports that Australians waste four million tonnes of food a year, almost $8 billion a year in a country of 22 million.

And horrifyingly, a vast amount of food waste occurs even before it reaches the consumer, as Tristram Stuart, author of  Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, reveals in his TED Talk:

Travel at least has benefits for the carbon cost – wasteful consumption and trade do not.

So eschew carbon reductionism and guilt, because unless we cut the abhorrent waste our society produces (everything from food to boomerang trade) which has a far greater carbon impact, we’ll be prioritising waste over enjoyment.

Travel, including to other countries by plane, offers the most wonderful adventures and experiences. Let’s hope someone is inventing a super-turbo-fast submarine-type contraption powered by the energy of the ocean as we speak.

In the meantime, I’d rather ground those frequent-flying shrimps before discouraging anyone wanting to learn more about or enjoy the world, or reconnect with loved ones.

* addendum August 2013: The Cloud Begins With Coal: Big Data, Big Networks, Big Infrastructure and Big Power – An Overview of the Electricity Used by the Global Digital Ecosystem, report by the Digital Power Group, Tech Pundit (sponsored by the National Mining Association and Americans for Clean Coal Electricity), in TIME:

Mills estimates that the (global) ICT system now uses 1,500 terawatt-hours of power per year. That’s about 10% of the world’s total electricity generation or roughly the combined power production of Germany and Japan. It’s the same amount of electricity that was used to light the entire planet in 1985. We already use 50% more energy to move bytes than we do to move planes in global aviation.

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5 Strategies For Working With Black Hats

cartoon melodrama villain wearing black stovepipe hat with handlebar moustache

The Black Hats – we’ve all dealt with them at some point (and maybe we’ve been them at some point!).

The naysayers, the critics, the ‘yes-buts’ and the ‘it won’t work because-s…’

The term ‘Black Hats’ originates from Edward de Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’, which is a framework and system of  thinking that is based on the idea we can consciously choose our mode of thought, whatever our natural tendency, and that the quality of thinking and decision making can be improved by utilising a range of thinking modes.

This approach uses six different coloured hats as a metaphor for certain modes of thinking:

pic of six hats, of the different colours

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  • Blue Hat – the hat of focus; ‘meta’ hat, used to manage the thinking process; each thinking session should begin and end with Blue Hat
  • White Hat – the hat of information; what information/date/facts are known, or needed, how to get this information
  • Red Hat – the hat of emotions; feelings, hunches or intuition, articulated without needing justification
  • Yellow Hat – the hat of optimism; identifying the values and benefits, what could be gained, why something could work
  • Black Hat – the hat of judgment; identifying possible weaknesses/drawbacks, critical, caution, why something may not work
  • Green Hat – the hat of creativity; possibilities, alternatives, new ideas; it works to find ways to overcome concerns identified by the black hat

‘Black hat’ thinking is not necessarily negative, as it plays an important (and positive) role in assessing thinking, applies a check on thinking from the green and yellow hat modes, and anticipates potential problems and pitfalls. In fact de Bono himself sees the ‘black hat’ as the most valuable and most used hat – used to avoid danger, mistakes, excess and nonsenses.

An imaginary conversation within a team from NASA during the 1960s using Six Thinking Hat modes might have unfolded as:

‘Just think how incredible it would be to land a man on the moon, and bring him safely home! (red)

‘What do we know about how to get a man on the moon? What do we need to know that we already don’t? (white)

‘What kinds of technologies developed for space travel could also benefit humanity on earth?’ (yellow)

‘Why stop at the moon? We could go to Mars!’ (green)

‘What could go wrong? There are a million things that could cause a disaster with this kind of project.’ (black)

‘Have we covered off on everything we need to discuss?  (blue)

This is just a simple example – the interaction would not have happened in exactly that order, as people shift in and out of modes at different points of discussion.

We are all ‘black hats’ at certain times or in particular contexts, especially those which involve risk and the unknown.

However, when black hat thinking becomes a personal trait, when black hats are people rather than modes of thinking people use, it can become problematic.

Individuals who are Black Hats seem to always have their ‘black hats’ on, or have them on the majority of the time. Sometimes, their very identity or ego is bound up in their role of being ‘the critic’. If they never change their hat, or are not challenged to consciously put on another hat, they can:

  • stifle new ideas before they get started, short-circuiting what could be a potentially excellent initiative
  • keep attention and focus on avoiding ‘problems’ rather than looking for innovative ways to address challenges
  • drain the energy out of others around them, affecting group morale

In a worst-case scenario, this dynamic can become so restrictive and maddening that it causes people to leave the group or organisation.

cartoon with text 'Great ideas alter the power balance in relationships. That's why great ideas are initially resisted' - with small cartoon man at bottom saying 'yes, but...'

Here are five strategies for ensuring Black Hats do not dominate the energy of your organisation or work:

1.       Acknowledge Their Contribution

Black Hats bring a critical and necessary dimension to any discussion or decision making process. They are often are genuinely worried about a proposed course of action, and attempting to talk them out of their position will likely cause them to dig their heels in to defend it. Specifically acknowledging their concerns, the positive attributes they bring to the exchange, and welcoming their contribution will demonstrate that their views have been heard.

2.      Encourage Them To Try On Another Hat

Even if you never mention the Six Thinking Hats, or ask someone to put on a Yellow or Green Hat, you can say: ‘…we’ve now heard all the reasons why it could create a problem or isn’t a good idea. Can you offer three potential benefits, or three alternatives to the proposal?’

If it helps, actually have different coloured hats on hand – as someone who has worn purple jester’s glasses and orange-tinted glasses during a workshop exercise to ‘see’ things differently, I can say it is surprising how such a small physical shift actually can help bring a new perspective!

my border collie Maggie wearing the purple jester glasses

Maggie says: ‘I can’t see any difference in colour?’

3.      Humour Them

By their nature, Black Hats tend to be cautious and concerned with risk – that is, they take a defensive position. If there is a way you can bring humour into the exchange (see: ‘The Physiology of Comedy in Communication’) – perhaps an in-joke, or finding some kind of professional or personal common ground – it sets off a different mix of brain chemicals which can break the tension, and make people more receptive than when their ‘fight or flight’ defences are up as they seek to argue their position on an intellectual level.

4.      Ask Strategic Questions

Frame questions differently by using Strategic Questioning, which shifts a conversation from judgment and defensiveness, and seeks to call forth the new and how things could be – a good forward-motion question is ‘what would it take to (achieve desired outcome)?’ It is very easy to criticise what is; a lot harder to be constructive about what could be. Challenge them.

5.     Protect Yourself

If nothing you try seems to work, or if you’re making progress with changing the dynamic but it feels like a slog, do whatever you need to to keep your own motivation intact. Minimise contact and interaction with Black Hats if possible, especially if exchanges have become personal – practice non-attachment, become ‘the witness’ to your exchanges with them, or even visualise yourself within a protective shield of white light, which repels the slings and arrows of outrageous Black-Hattery. And don’t focus on the one person or few negative people who are making life difficult – think of all the others you are working with, and those who do appreciate and encourage your efforts.

While the ‘positive’ Black Hat state can help minimise risk, exercise caution and improve ideas, too much ‘negative’ Black Hat energy – cynicism, fault-finding and turning professional differences into personal issues – is corrosive and counterproductive, and anyone engaging in it needs to be pulled up on it.

But if you can be aware of Black Hat personalities in your sphere, encourage their ‘positive’ Black Hat state contributions, and know how to neutralise their ‘negative’ state behaviour, you will cultivate a valuable asset.

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Communicating Change And Staying Sane While Doing It

Critical Mass film poster - black background with Earth represented as an apple with huge bites taken out both sides.

Crux is pleased to present a guest post from my good friend and London-based filmmaker Mike Freedman, who has recently completed his first feature documentary, Critical Mass.

Mike’s film deals with subjects that are very sensitive to many groups of people for a range of reasons. As such, he has taken on a major communication challenge in terms of presenting the content as well as learning how to manage personal challenges that go with offering a message that people may not be receptive to. Here’s what he has learned about communication for change.

Upton Sinclair, the famous writer of the early 20th, was quoted as saying: ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.’

In December, I will be giving my second guest lecture at Bournemouth University on the subject of the ethics of marketing. For all the shortcomings of that field, in marketing it is understood that all communication is aimed at change, whether it is changing a preference for toothpaste or a cultural narrative. If I invite you to come see my band or my niece’s piano recital, I’m trying to change what your plans otherwise are or might have been. Even sending out a press release debunking climate change is itself aimed at change, in the sense that it is seeking to change the believability of an opposing message. That is why Sinclair’s quote is so important for understanding the work that lies ahead of us – it discards the idea that what we are doing is somehow unique.

The difference between you and an oil company press officer is only the message, not the act. Your motivation might be loftier, your goal more beneficial for a larger swathe of humanity, but doing what you are doing is functionally no different from the press office at the Heritage Foundation or the Adam Smith Institute. Those people are also ‘change agents’, it’s just that they are trying to change society into something you and I agree is a Spencerian experiment in social Darwinism using high rhetoric about liberty and individualism to disguise the desires of their paymasters.

This may seem depressing, but it’s not. I’m not trying to tell you that what you are doing doesn’t matter – it matters a great deal. The truth, however, must be acknowledged because it will liberate you from the ‘I know I’m doing the right thing so why hasn’t it worked yet?’ burden that presses down on you in the dark when you lie in bed. You are telling people something that they are paid not to understand. Why let it upset you? It’s almost a law of nature.

I spent two years researching, writing, directing, producing and narrating a documentary called Critical Mass about the impact of human population growth and consumption on our planet and on our psychology:

Critical Mass trailer by Mike Freedman

Now that the film is finished, I have the task of bringing it out into the world. This involves a great deal of communication, and because of our use of archive footage which needs to be cleared, fundraising as well.

So how do I reconcile my belief in the message with my own concerns about adding to the noise already being made by every other person who’s soliciting on this giant street corner we call the internet? How do I wake up every morning and keep working, moving forward despite occasional silences, adversarial reactions or seemingly hopeless odds?

Crack cocaine, in Herculean doses.

Just kidding.

There are many reasons I am able to keep on keepin’ on, but the most relevant one here is that I gave up on the idea that I was going to change the world about a year ago. That’s not to say that our human systems, structures, habits and frameworks don’t need to be reappraised, improved or utterly redesigned. What it means is that I found that the greatest obstacle to my own personal development was myself, not the world. In attempting to know and conquer myself, I discovered that many external improvements flowed from that decision. What good is an improved world if the ‘me’ in it isn’t also improved?

So how does this emphasis on self-development fit in with my earlier point about the intractability of others based on their own vested interests? Well, it’s been my experience that placing oneself in opposition to something increases the resistance you face, which in turn makes the prospect of real change very remote. If someone is paid not to understand your message, being upset with them or telling them their paymasters are bad people won’t actually help the situation nor will it further your ultimate aim, which is to spread the word and encourage the adoption of new ideas and methods by others.

There are no good guys and bad guys in the world of communication, only people who know what’s up and others who have been mis- or uninformed. Dispense with the idea that you have enemies. Resist the temptation to externalise your obstacles. If you are the active element, changing yourself is the best example and also the most compelling argument in favour of your cause.

Furthermore, by seeing those you are trying to reach or convert as your equals rather than your adversaries, you will not underestimate the powerful, sometimes subconscious reasons for your message being ignored or dismissed. You will know why their ears do not hear and their eyes do not see, and this will help you to do better. Most of all, you will realise that the process of change is constant and the work of communication is ongoing; by no longer believing that there is a definite endpoint, you won’t feel so hopeless or exhausted by not having gotten there yet. The work is its own reward.

Thinking about these important aspects of what you do may not ultimately make your work any easier, but they will help you stay sane while you do it.

headshot of Mike

Mike Freedman is a filmmaker and writer based in London. Over the past two years, he has interviewed 60 of the world’s leading scientists, authors and academics on the issues of population, water, food, peak oil, economics and sustainability for his debut feature documentary, Critical Mass, which is about the impact of human population growth and consumption on our planet and on our psychology. In addition to his film work, he is an occasional guest lecturer at Bournemouth University and also gives presentations on the subject of population growth around the UK. His writing has been published by Stakeholder Forum’s Outreach Magazine, The Daly News and Transition Voice.

Facebook: CriticalMassFilm
Twitter: CriticalMassDoc

Special Request

If you’d like to help support Mike’s Indiegogo campaign to realise the commercial release of this independent film, please watch the pitch video below (which is one of the funniest I’ve seen) and choose your perk here: www.indiegogo.com/CriticalMass.

Whether or not you’re in a position right now to support the campaign, please consider sharing this with your networks on email and social media by copying and pasting the following text:

Critical Mass is a feature length documentary about the impact of human population growth and consumption on our planet and on our psychology. There is an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to secure its commercial release currently underway. Please support it by purchasing a ‘perk’ or if that’s not possible for you right now, please share it with your networks www.indiegogo.com/CriticalMass

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