Category Archives: Tools

Epuron ad screenshot

So lonely, misunderstood…

What a great example of how to breath life into an abstract topic—renewable energy—by turning it into a human character.    Add bits of emotional drama, surprise and slightly-risque humor. . . and the story becomes irresistible!

This award-winning ad by the power company Epuron and the German Ministry for the Environment (BMU) went viral a few years ago,  and has taken on a life of its own,  recently reaching 4+ million hits on YouTube.    A good story always draws a crowd.

This ad was shown at the Climate Reality leadership training in SF last August to illustrate effective communication.

Book-Burning Party: Change the story, then change the world.

Last week at the Climate Reality Leadership Training in San Francisco, storytelling guru Andy Goodman led a spellbinding session on the importance of “changing the story.”    Goodman described research that confirmed what many of us have experienced:  in a public debate, a misleading but vivid anecdote can trump reams of data and logic.    (Anybody remember Ronald Reagan’s wildly exaggerated “Welfare Queen” imagery?)

So often, the only way to dislodge emotionally-charged disinformation is to tell a better, more compelling story.

To see this principle in action, check out this wonderful little clip from Goodman’s Free Range Thinking newsletter about a successful campaign in Troy MI that defeated the Tea Party and saved the city library.    Lots of lessons here!  Continue reading

The ‘Serengeti Strategy’ defanged?

The pride of lions closes in for the kill, stalking its prey, waiting to spot a weak buffalo.

African lions on the hunt prowl the edge of a herd, single out one buffalo, then hunt as a pack to separate the individual from the herd and bring it down.   In The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, Michael E. Mann notes that critics of climate science often use the same tactic, which he dubs ‘The Serengeti Strategy.’ Continue reading

water on earth 2 - USGS,

Note to Self – Part Two:
‘It’s the water, stupid!’

This updated USGS image is a striking  reminder of our vulnerability (click to enlarge).    In wet areas of the world—like northeastern U.S.—we take ample water supplies for granted, but globally it is a precious resource.

Our food supply depends on clean, fresh water Continue reading

Twitterstorming fossil fuel subsidies

Fossil fuel subsidey cf RenewablesAs  public pressure grows for cutting fossil fuel subsidies, activists are turning to social media to keep the heat on governments around the world.

Climate communicators are experimenting with fresh ways  to use the two dominant social media, Twitter and Facebook, to spread messages and organise action.  Click on Twitterstorm to learn what happened on June 18 and for  updates on the campaign to urge the Rio Earth Summit to end subsidies. Continue reading

Breaking out of our bubbles

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a bubble. Actually, we all live in our own custom-made bubbles that are shaped by our life experience and our education.

The world in my bubble is different from the world in your bubble.    The TV show Madmen dramatized this in an early episode, when Betty comes home with her drycleaning.     After a few minutes, the kids come running out of the bedroom Continue reading

colbert - sink or swim screenshot of Colbert

Stephen Colbert: NC Sink or Swim

Thank god for parody— the best tool for puncturing puffed-up politicians who parade their ignorance.

Here, Stephen Colbert skewers the North Carolina legislature’s proposal to outlaw use of climate models in coastal planning.

A few snippets: Continue reading

Franke - darwin

Tricksters – adapted for survival

Canadian artist Franke James gives reign to her ‘inner trickster’ to produce delightful visual essays that advocate for action to address climate change.

Charles Darwin (left) famously said,

“It is not the strongest nor the most intelligent of the species that survive, it is the one most adaptable to change.”

The most adaptable characters in many oral storytelling traditions are characters known as ‘tricksters.’   Continue reading