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The Painful Truth

By Keith Kloor
Apr 15, 2011 6:59 PMNov 20, 2019 3:43 AM


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I'm poaching this comment from yesterday's Dot Earth post on Randy Olson. What's striking to me is that it comes from a graduate student enrolled in a sustainability program at a top university:

I love the 'woe is me' and 'shame on you' summation. It perfectly characterizes the scope of most environmental communication. The hysterical end-of-the-world types encapsulate both modes. Like the awful Lester Brown fright fest on PBS a few weeks ago. I am committed to the global warming cause but couldn't watch more than a few minutes of it. It had all the subtley and wit of a Stalinist propaganda movie. I was surprised they didn't use clips from The Road Warrior or Waterworld to make their point. I'm in the graduate sustainability program at Harvard and had to endure a class that was basically organized around how the mean, nasty corporate media are in cahoots with oilmen and are keeping environmentalists from converting all of America to the side of the righteous. Total _ _. The media is a tool. If your home improvement project falls apart, do you blame the drill or the hammer? Of course not, same with the media. How many global warming TV spots have you ever seen? I've seen one, it was fantastic. In 60 seconds it clearly outlined the problem, the stakes and what to do about it. And who made it? Sierra Club? Greenpeace? NRDC? Some other big-time environmental group? Nope. VoteforVets. Environmentalists need to confront the painful truth that they are Horrible communicators.

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