environmentalists and poor communication

Here a marketing person criticizes the communication strategies of scientists and environmentalists.

our side likes complexity. And in communications, only simplicity works. Our side doesn’t like simplicity because they view it as manipulative or not capturing the truth. Without simplicity, people don’t remember anything. Another thing: The research shows and common sense tells you that that this is a really tough, depressing issue to get your head around. So they really can’t do it unless they know what can be done about it. And we don’t put forward a clear solution. Go out on the street and ask people, “What can we do about climate change?” They won’t know. So we have to make this a lot simpler…

Public interest types, across the board — we think because we’ve said something, know something, or done something, that everybody else knows it. We don’t realize the bubble we live in.  It’s only when you’ve said something so many times that you’re utterly and completely sick of it that someone has even heard it. Marketers understand this. Scientists and people from the humanities less so — they get bored by it. “We already had our op-ed in the New York Times! The world knows!” But it takes so much more repetition than that.

I mean, as a country, even the intelligentsia has not fully realized that we are in a planetary emergency and we are running rapidly out of time.

Actually, I get criticized by my fellow engineers almost daily for oversimplifying complex issues and for repeating myself to the point of annoyance. It turns out, maybe I have some communication instincts after all!

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