The Green Revolution Will (not?) Be Televised

This blog has been following the debate on language within the green movement--how to communicate the urgency to act without turning people off? A recent NYT article, Seeking to Save the Planet, With a Thesaurus,

The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.” The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington. Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere...”

As the article points out, both the "pro" and "con" sides to all environmental issues are wordsmithing these days; Grist has followed the coining of the oxymoron "clean coal" for months. And for some, it's not the "hard-sell" or the "soft-sell" that's up for debate, but the "sell it" approach to environmentalism.

I happened upon another view of social marketing this week on the UNEP website--the United Nations Environment Programme - Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics. Their Creative Gallery on Sustainable Communications has a searchable database divided up into different sustainability themes: human rights, fair trade, climate change, etc.

Some might question featuring advertisements from nonprofits like Greenpeace alongside greenwash-y spots from car companies, but I think the ad collection's video and print ads illustrate nicely the conundrum facing many who are trying to communicate about climate change.  Do the best ads come from the "greenest" sources?  Is it possible to reach a large audience without watering down or cheapening your message?  What's the carbon footprint for an average TV spot, internet video, or magazine spread? Check out these examples or search for more.

Superman video from the Singapore Environment Council

Ice Cream - Print ad from World Wildlife Fund - Belgium

Global Warming Print ad for Legambiente- Grey Milan

Public Tranport - UNEP  London

Tags: Advertising, Green movement, Messaging, Policy, Public awareness, Un

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