When it comes to Sustainability, personal experience trumps facts
Interesting story this week of columnist Peter Oborne, bone-dry right-of-centre journalist, has had a Damascene conversion to the cause of tackling climate change. “The press has failed” he said, going on to a mea culpa “I think I was rather too impressed by climate skeptics, to begin with.”
So what triggered this awakening? Was it a graph of global temperature trends? Was it pictures of devastated communities in the wake of Hurricane Irma? Or was it thousands marching the streets demanding change?
Nope, none of those things.
It was cricket.
“Here we are at the end of September, and the cricket county championship is still being decided. 25 years ago, it never went on this long.”
Of course this is as scientifically illiterate as all those “the Romans had vineyards in England” zombie myths that populate parts of the interweb. There are many valid measures of climate change he could have picked, but the cricket season is not one of them.
But on another level, it illustrates a very important point on engaging people in Sustainability. We rarely if ever change tack because of facts and figures. But we often do it because of experience.
I was an armchair environmentalist until I witnessed the devastated taiga downwind of a nickel smelter in arctic Russia – only then did I decided that tackling these problems would become my life’s work. Standing there I could see (and taste) the plume of acidic emissions from the plant – a lump of engineering which made me feel a little ashamed to be an engineer.
This is why my Green Jujitsu approach tailors engagement to the audience. If cricket works for Oborne, then let’s talk cricket. For me, it’s engineering. For my NHS clients, it’s healthcare. By making Sustainability relevant to people, you’ll find it much easier to get them on board.
By the way, if you haven’t checked out our new Green Jujitsu training course, check it out here.