Everyone loves the Guardian for news interest and I love Guardian Environment and Sustainable Business! One item on the agenda is Canadian tar sands...
Sunday, 23 January 2011
Sunday, 9 January 2011
WHY do we raise awareness? The Transition message (Peak Oil + climate change + social injustice = a great and brilliant need to rethink our systems), whereas media messages are often profoundly contradictory and confusing.
HOW does engagement happen? Look at what people already know, what information already exists. They need to know about the issue and why it is important, then let them know what is possible and what they can do.
WHO are we trying to reach? Think about who is in your community (the diversity of cultures, races, ages, levels of wealth, languages, jobs, religions, lifestyles, values and motivations, political affiliation, how long they have lived there for) and what levels of access they have to internet and transport.
When communicating with someone about an issue, one must attempt to gauge how best they learn in order to target the style of engagement- whether they are verbal, visual, tactile, learn through being shown, likes facts and figures, etc. Some may want to be involved but do not want to know about the graphs and explanations of peak oil- they do not need to be convinced nor understand to take part.
1. PRE-CONTEMPLATION: Is there a problem?
2. CONTEMPLATION: There is a problem, what needs doing?
3. PREPARATION: What will I do and how?
4. CHANGE: Keep going with this, try a different solution?
Some people never get past stage 1 but do not waste your time on these ‘brick wallers’. It is crucial to raise awareness with enjoyment (e.g. by hosting a fun community event) as if you do not enjoy the change, you will not change.
HOW MANY people do we need to tell? According to Malcolm Gladwell, there will be a ‘tipping point’. Every time there is change in society, there are doubters. The believers start underground, grow in numbers, then suddenly there is ‘tipping point’ and the movement grows. For example with women’s votes or anti-child labour, people thought ‘oh no, this cannot happen, our society will collapse’, but it did happen and works better.
The key messages for awareness raising are:
-you do not have to engage EVERYONE.
-remember that it is not always easy.
-make it fun!
Another set of (very) good tips for this type of thing are written by Chris Rose and are published on his ‘Campaign Strategy’ website.