A random collection of things that inspire, interest and trouble me
from the world of design, politics, art and culture.

Selling the sizzle

Posted: December 9th, 2009 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: behaviour, environment, future | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

sizzle

Have just read Futerra’s report Selling the Sizzle. It is a basic outline of how, through positive framing, climate change activists can radically change people’s behaviour toward climate change. It’s all about making the actions desirable so that people actually take them. For, “without public support the Cynics win by default. All they need is inaction”

The basic problem, Futerra says, is that “most climate friendly behaviours, especially the big hard ones (travel, diet, etc) are not aspirational or desirable. One factor that tars them is their association with a problem. You’re asked to make a sacrifice for the greater good, which has rarely in human history been a high status pastime.”

But Futerra believes that if we frame these actions positively then they could become desirable. They list the process that communicators should use as:

VISION —-> CHOICE —-> PLAN —-> ACTION

This step-by-step process feels a bit like a quit smoking programme. First, envision the glorious future without cigarettes. Then once the patient can see the positive future, give them a choice between this, and the hell of a lifetime of smoking. Then you and the patient start planning on how you will tackle quitting smoking. And finally the patient takes action and quits smoking, and you keep reinforcing the positive future they have chosen.

The question is, will it work? Can we make desirable the behaviour and lifestyle changes that are necessary to mitigate the worst effects of climate change? If you are in the business of communicating climate change, I suggest you read the report.


Reading and watching

Posted: December 8th, 2009 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Today I have been watching Copenhagen TV via Oneclimate.net. There have been some very thought provoking interviews and some inspiring films on there so far. You can also keep track of course via Twitter (#COP15), or the Tck Tck Tck live blog, or even the on demand videos from the UNFCC. It is interesting how much more I feel a part of this conference than I did that of Bali, basically down to the ability to access live streaming video and read the Twitter stream.

I also watched a very interesting talk on the next big thing in digital media (or below if the player works for you), put on by the Paley Centre for Media. The talk was convened by Quincy Smith from CBS Interactive and introduces and explains the ideas and funding models behind start ups like Boxee, Chartbeat, Hot Potato, Jelli, gdgt.com and Tapulous. Of some interestwas Chartbeat which is a real time analytic service that allows companies to track what people are doing on their sites in real time and adjust the content or direction accordingly.

Tomorrow is a reading day and I am going to sit myself down with a nice cup of tea to read Futerra’s Sell the Sizzle report which calls on campaigners and the government to stop selling doom and gloom about the climate and instead talk about how living a low-carbon life will be heavenly. The name of the report comes from the idea that with sausages you don’t sell dead pork, you sell the sizzle and smell of them cooking. It’s all about positive framing. You can download it on Futerra’s site.

I am also going to read a working paper entitled Culture|Futures Cultural Transformations for a Cultural Age, edited by Olaf Gerlach-Hansen. This investigates how “culture interconnects with the reality of climate change and with ecology. It aims to establish a set of common understandings and definitions, and to identifiy important perspectives for cultural strategies for sustainable development”. You can download the report on the RSA’s Arts & Ecology site.

I also plan on wading through the many useful articles on user experience on the Usability Professional’s website. This is to swot up on what I hope will be my new career. Enough with print, bring in the digital.


Videos for the climate sceptics

Posted: November 27th, 2009 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: environment | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

If we ignore it, will it go away? I am not talking about climate change, I am talking about the scepticism surrounding the issue. It amazes me that people can still be holding onto the belief that anthropogenic climate change is not happening. I was hoping that if I ignored them they would go away, but they keep coming back more powerful than ever.

After last week’s hacked email fiasco, it seems as though the sceptics are rattling their cages a little too loudly and I would like them to stop, thank you.

Perhaps it is time to send this video around again. It is the best and most logical reasoning IMO for why we need to do something now about climate change.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zORv8wwiadQ]

If you would like to arm yourself with some good arguments to counter any sceptics in your life, head to Ecotube where there are a collection of videos made especially for this. Thanks to Futerra for the tip on this.


travelling, walking, moving about

Posted: October 13th, 2009 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: behaviour, travel | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

With some reluctance I have recently endured an Easyjet flight. I wanted to take the train but on my student budget I was unable to afford the extra £400 to travel in a slightly more sustainable manner. Fortunately in December I will be able to redeem my climate sins as I will be taking the slow way to Berlin by train, stopping in at Paris and Cologne on the way. I have of course recently confessed my environmental sins to Futerra at their confessional booth at the wonderful Greengaged event.

Contemplating the state of cheap flights and their effect on the planet was easy to do whilst sitting in the airport lounge watching the thousands of weekend tourists getting anxious. I had to wonder, do they really think that this is worth it? Do they really appreciate what they are experiencing or is it just another chance to tick off a box? For example I overheard a woman on the plane talking about her trip to the Netherlands and she couldn’t even remember the name of town that she visited!

So what is the future of travel? A recent partnership between the excellent Forum for the Future and some big names in travel has produced a report called Tourism 2023. The report proposes that a low carbon future will demand a different sort of traveller: one who takes the slow road, travelling for a longer period every couple of years rather than each weekend. Anna Simpson (who neatly summarises the report here) sees that this type of travel is both more rewarding for the traveller and for the place to which they travel, citing examples of the ‘one-day tourists who rip through the city [Venice] without so much as a gondola ride or a plate of zucchini’.

But didn’t we all used to do ‘slow travel’? I for one planned my first trip overseas in 1996 for at least four years and after that month away I couldn’t afford to travel for at least another three years. My longest trip abroad was a year in South America, but many people just cannot afford to take this length of time off work now. Employers are rarely willing to allow an employee to take even a four week block of holidays, and so the culture of mini-breaks is encouraged. Perhaps it’s time to start putting pressure on the employers to revise their policies regarding holiday time.


Kevin *#*%! Rudd

Posted: September 22nd, 2009 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: activism, environment | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Greenpeace launch a campaign ‘Dirty Kev‘ in Australia telling the prime minister that his name will be used in vain if he does a dirty deal on climate change at Copenhagen. Kevin Rudd will become the new swear word of choice. via Oscoio

dirty-Kev4_thumb


Thom Yorke plays the Age of Stupid launch

Posted: September 22nd, 2009 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: activism, behaviour, environment, film, music | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Thom York performing ‘Reckoner’ as part of the Age of Stupid film launch. The film calls for a global wake up to how our wasteful behaviour is increasing the risk of catastrophic climate change:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLMEsc_42Gw&feature=player_embedded]


The Carbon Disclosure Project

Posted: April 7th, 2009 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No Comments »

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an independent not-for-profit organisation which holds the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world.

The data is obtained from responses to CDP’s annual Information Requests, issued on behalf of institutional investors, purchasing organisations and government bodies. Since its formation in 2000, CDP has become the gold standard for carbon disclosure methodology and process, providing primary climate change data to the global market place.


Global attitudes to climate change

Posted: April 7th, 2009 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: environment | Tags: , | No Comments »

From the Pew Global Attitudes Project

There also is a substantial gap in concern over global warming – roughly two-thirds of Japanese (66%) and Indians (65%) say they personally worry a great deal about global warming. Roughly half of the populations of Spain (51%) and France (46%) also express great concern over global warming, based on those who have heard about the issue.

But there is no evidence of alarm over global warming in either the United States or China – the two largest producers of greenhouse gases. Just 19% of Americans and 20% of the Chinese who have heard of the issue say they worry a lot about global warming – the lowest percentages in the 15 countries surveyed. Moreover, nearly half of Americans (47%) and somewhat fewer Chinese (37%) express little or no concern about the problem.

252-6


Earth Hour

Posted: April 7th, 2009 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: environment | Tags: , , | No Comments »

As a symbolic gesture, Earth Hour has been very successful. It has its detractors however, mostly from people who mistake its symbolic status for real action and believe that people taking part think that they are actually saving energy. This article however, critiques it from another viewpoint, that the choice of metaphor for the event (turning off lights) is one that may seem negative to people who are against behaviour change for the environment. Turning off the lights is a symbol (to these people) of returning to the dark ages.