How to be an effective environmentalist

People pursuing a career with passion beyond taking care of themselves understandably often take pride on their values and devotion, which in itself is not unreasonable. However, what’s not productive is the tendency to judge others who don’t share the same dedication. It certainly is not the best strategy to spark positive change, or to demonstrate good characters, as Fitzgerald put it:

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

– The Great Gatsby

These truly are words to live by.

Environmentalists aren’t particularly known for being non-judgmental, which doesn’t make them the most fun people to be around. If you google “why are environmentalists…”, what comes up on top is “annoying” and “stupid”. The results are even worse when replacing “environmentalists” with “vegans”: “angry”, “self-righteous” and “obnoxious” are the popular suggestions. Those words certainly don’t paint a rosy picture of our ability to be effective at spreading our message. Luckily it’s never too late to face the problem, and look for ways to fix it.

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Mass Comm 101 for Environmentalists

After witnessing the surprising win of xenophobia powered Brexit and the unexpected uprising of the outright bigot Trump, many may wonder the same questions: “How the hell…?!”

After a period of frustration and anger, we should move beyond these emotions and further reflect upon these historical events. How did the common sense, in this day and age with all the information at people’s fingertips, get outnumber by…well, the majority of the crowd. I am not a political commentator but I do recognize the connection relevant to my cause of interest: Slow actions against climate change is another highlighted failure of reason, science and expert opinions against the public. Hence  I think sustainability professionals should take a lesson on mass communication.

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