Phew, what a week!
It is weeks like this that I sometimes wish Terra Infirma was being hit by “the current economic situation” – we are flat out delivering projects, responding to queries from potential clients (2 in different time zones), getting The Green Business Bible into the right format for ‘proper’ publication, and doing all the dull business stuff to keep the taxman happy.
Highlight of the week was the Middlesbrough Climate Change conference where I was organising the workshops to make sure they did what the organisers wanted them to. During the workshops I was hopping from room to room, but I was able to sit in on the plenary sessions. Jeff Ridley from the Hadley Centre gave us the latest data on climate predictions, George Marshall of COIN gave a fantastic talk on communicating climate change, Joan Ruddock MP gave one of the better environmental speeches I have heard from a Government minister and there was an interesting session by video from Australia on what local Government can do. The whole thing was very well (and firmly) compered by Sara Parkin of Forum for the Future. There will be a report on the whole event, and, when I’ve finished compiling it, I’ll post the link.
What I love about this job is there’s always more to learn – I’ve been to hundreds of events like this and there is always a couple of gems you can take away with you. This time it was definitely George Marshall who castigated the standard ‘pronouncement from above’ approach to climate change communications and proposed three effective strategies:
1. Respect and reflect: make it directly relevant to core values of the audience (polar bears live far away so are useless as a symbol)
2. Peer to peer: use social norms and networks to engage people directly
3. Make action worthwhile: reward desired behaviour with money, status and/or fun
All food for thought!
Next week’s schedule is looking a bit clearer, thank goodness, as there’s quite a lot to get finished by the end of the month.