The K.I.S.S. Principle and environmental change.

10 March 2006

I’m sure Seth Godin isn’t writing the great posts on his blog strictly to give me fodder to talk about environmental issues and how they’re discussed. But his latest entry, “Bite sized”, serves the purpose just as well as his earlier posts about “climate cancer”.

Godin:

Actually, our behavior as people is pretty easy to predict. We like things that are simple, not complex. Issues where we can take action without changing very much. […] The best problems, as far as a consumer is concerned, are those that can be solved quickly and easily, with few side effects.

Me: It would be great if everyone had the same wish that I do to embrace complexity, seek out change, and grow by leaps and bounds from day to day. But does that describe the world you see around you? It doesn’t even describe my actual experience, only my wishes, and I’m the most gung-ho wisher for huge, positive change you can imagine.

I’d love it if the most powerful environmentalists got their heads together and agreed that, while maintaining their many varied good programs, they were going to collaborate on the one message, a simple message, that would best best serve the earth’s environment. I don’t know if it would target hydrocarbons, or habits of consumption, or what, but I do know it would help if every person in the industrialized world internalized some message like “Let’s keep it safe for our grandkids: Stop polluting now.” Put up billboards with a picture of a cute infant/toddler holding the earth in his or her hands and smiling. Run simple, warm television ads featuring respected, politics-neutral notables saying what they’re personally doing to reduce their output of pollution. Hit every branch of the media in every country. Say it over and over.

Above all, give people something simple they can do right now with minimal pain to address the high-leverage problem. I’m busy and I’m weak-willed–make it easy for me, much less the folks who drive Excursions.

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