Don’t State the Facts, Tell An Environmental Story

By | April 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm | One comment

Photo by Solokom via flickr

We’re all living life on the edge. Climate change has made it so that our weather patterns our becoming more and more unpredictable. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and other extreme events are more common than ever. They hold the power to destroy homes, families, and your way of living in a matter of seconds. They are able to take everything you like and turn it into a pile of rubble without any thought. With all of this on the line, don’t you want to stop it? Don’t you want to do whatever you can to ensure that your livelihood is safe and secure?

Deep stuff, eh? When you read that, you may have felt something that didn’t come from your head. More likely, it came from your heart – a place where we feel our emotions. And within environmental research, we’re beginning to understand this a whole lot better – and how to apply it to the messages we want to convey.

All too many times, I’ve been to conferences where people have said, “We need to increase awareness. If people know about this, they would change their ways.” As lovely as that thought is, it’s not the answer.

That approach is falsified by your heart and your gut – in other words, your emotions. In that first paragraph, I didn’t state the facts linking climate change to extreme weather events. I told you a story instead – one that appeals to your values. In the end, that’s what we all base our decisions off of – whether or not the information we hear can relate to the things we truly care about.

That being said, I think we are completely capable of communication the issues that plague our environment with our values in mind. Without proper environmental stewardship, we risk losing the resources we depend on for our everyday necessities. If we continue polluting our rivers, we won’t have fresh water to drink. If we keep pumping greenhouse gases into the air, we will start having trouble breathing (I’ve heard many first-hand stories about air pollution in cities – it’s quite disheartening).

If we tell these stories – through personal reflections, and using our heart (emotions), gut (humour), or even through sex appeal – we may be more effective in getting that information out to others who thought their lives had nothing to do with the environment.

Simply telling people information won’t cut it – and so, dear ecolutionists, I implore you to take your thoughts one step further. Tell a story. Make people laugh or cry. And remember that people love to be emotionally stimulated just as much as you do.

One Comment

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