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  • BRIAN BEAR's avatar
    BRIAN BEAR 11/19/2021 9:13 AM
    Hi All, I’ve been mulling over something we talked about at the end of this week’s session – how to ‘reach people,’ how to influence people about climate change and the environment (or more importantly, motivate them to do something about it.)  Different people are motivated by different things. For some people it’s an influencer, someone who makes a splash on TV or social media. 

    Me personally, I am *done* with celebrities and “experts.” I ignore sports figures, Hollywood types, leaders of NGOs. My belief in “experts” has been greatly eroded the last few years (don’t get me started about the FAA/Boeing/737-Max debacle, currently my favorite example, haha.)  For me, they are all too superficial, not based on facts but emotions, or just trying to be authoritative because they crave attention. 

    I – personally - am motivated by people that are authentic: people that are *living* the thing that they profess. I have great respect for the Amish and Mennonites, because they live in accordance with their beliefs (and also take lightly from the Earth, compared to the average American.) Ordinary people that take lightly from the earth but don’t make a big deal out of it - and there are quite a lot of those, I think, but it is not a glamorous life that makes a splash in the NYT or the Book of Face. Some experts and celebrities have “authentic” credentials too, but not many. 

    I have seen personally that having authenticity makes a compelling case when you’re talking to doubters. I have a couple of coworkers that are skeptical of AGW (human-caused climate change.) We have traded good-natured insults because they know I am an environmentalist, with hippy-dippy tendencies. But a few years ago we installed a solar water heater and hooked it up to our house. It made an interesting opening with those guys. Because we put skin in the game – we had to put real $ and sweat into the project. Then those guys were interested in both the technical details, and the payback period ('how much natgas and how much $ are you going to save from that?')

    I confess to being lukewarm about Greta Thunberg – not her personally, but the movement behind her. I do not doubt her personal courage, speaking in front of the UN. I think she demonstrated authenticity a few years ago, sailing across an ocean for a climate conference (while most of the attendees fly in chartered jets and bring their motorcades and sycophants)  The media called that a stunt, but I don't think so. I do think her message gets co-opted by other people (the “climate-change = buy my solar panels!” crowd) 

    • Jennifer Goldschneider's avatar
      Jennifer Goldschneider 12/03/2021 11:35 AM
      Brian, I agree with you that the authentic people who are living their beliefs are the most convincing and inspiring to me personally. I think, though, that it takes multiple types of "representatives" to have an impact on multiple types of everyday people. I would be happy to see any type of representative/advocate working to change things - PROVIDED that they use accurate science and tell the facts about the situation. The bigwigs and pro athletes who don't impress you and me might still have a role to play if they could positively influence their own "followers", even if the benefits of change that they cite are completely different.