Who We Are

This great 30 second ad from climate advocacy group NextGen Climate which aired during Super Bowl 50 last week is exactly what I’ve been waiting to see! And we need to see more of it.

It uses a grand, positive, opportunities frame and simple language to communicate a pro-renewable energy message to American audiences all with a nice, clear (and admirable) call to action and target – Demand a Plan for 50% clean energy by 2030.

Give it a watch…

Notice how it reframes renewable energy and climate action as patriotic, distinctly American callings by linking them to American characteristics – not being “quitters”, facing “problems head-on”, innovation – along with imagery of farmers, workers, veterans and the iconic raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. The repeated use of the word ‘we’ also evokes a united and uniting cause, the opposite of the usual divisive connotations around climate change.

For non-Americans like myself it may seem a little cheesy but it’s this kind of talking to where people are, this kind of speaking to people’s core values, that is key to reaching people and changing their perceptions about renewables and climate action.

More of this please!

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#BetterNotBigger

A couple of things I’ve come across this week really struck a chord.

First, this tweet from Martin Tye.

Second, this article from Will Hutton, and in particular its subheading:

Societies must learn to use economics to help provide purpose and fulfilment.

Both the hashtag #BetterNotBigger (actually the campaign slogan for the Sustainable Australia party) and the subheading are simple calls to action prompting us to think about what kind of economy we want and how it can better serve us and the environment.

They quite succinctly encapsulate what I believe is an important aspect of sustainability – creating economies (or an economics) with other purposes than growth, mass production and consumption.

That is to say economies that are smarter (using science, data, international coordination, policy and the market to more efficiently allocate limited resources) and better (providing for the greatest good in quality of life, civilisational stability and environmental sustainability).

We need to lose our obsession with growing bigger and having more and instead think smarter and build and use better.

An economic focus on mass manufacturing and consumption-based growth makes sense to a point to lift a country out of poverty but once developed, with an information and service-based economy, this focus should shift to providing us well-being, purpose and environmental stewardship as well as prosperity and economic stability.

This is one of our key challenges and opportunities in creating a sustainable world and these two messages are a simple and concise way of conceptualising this.