Green social media

Why the green sector needs to get better at Social Media and web — part one

Environmental professionals, especially in the public sector, need to get better at utilizing social media as part of their work. The following post explains why, and gives you a few ready-to-use pointers to take you that extra mile.

The green field is missing out and falling behind

I keep coming back to this subject, simply because it’s important.

As someone who lives on the internet, it pains me to time and time again see amazing products and organizations miss their audience because they don’t know how to navigate social media and behavioral change strategies.

It’s the reason I switched from working as an environmental planner to working as a copywriter. There are so many passionate professionals out there who get up every day and work themselves to the bones to make the world a better place.

But I saw them struggling with reaching their goals and falling behind in terms of communication. Often the “script” of a communication campaign would follow the same script as the ones I remember from my childhood.

Use less energy, save water and do it for future generations.

These campaigns are heavy on facts and appeal to the better nature in. They ask us to make better choices, and basically be better humans. The problem is, they don’t work.

I came across these campaigns all the time and was frustrated out of my skull. Why? Because I knew that only a few tips and tricks could help them make an enormous difference.

I wanted to give professionals in the green industry the tools they needed to make those changes happen. After a few years of frustration, I switched carrier path. I now work full-time writing copy for websites, newsletters, and social media. I also teach these techniques to my clients, so they don’t have to depend on me.

Social media is no longer an online identity – it is part of your identity.

If you’re not online, you don’t exist.

 

The green industry is no different.

 

You don’t have to beat your green competitors!

The beauty of the environmental sector is, you don’t with other green organizations or products. If done right, information campaigns promoting behavioral change, do not compete with other behavioral change campaigns. You are not a soft drink, trying to outmaneuver other soft drinks.

We need all hands on deck to make the world a more sustainable place. Luckily, the communication strategies that work for pro-environmental behavior are so good you don’t have to fight other companies in a green arena. Your success does not mean another green organization has to fail.

But you still need to work hard and stay visible, so you don’t lose ground to non-sustainable solutions.

Bringing the green sector into the age of the internet — and social media

 

Being a kid in the 80’s and 90’s I remember the marketing slogan: Sex sells.

Selling climate change prevention and mitigation as sexy is hard, and a rather inept thing to do. You would never promote 3rd world aid as sexy, it’s insensitive and very inappropriate. Good news! Sex isn’t the only sales tool anymore.

For the last decade describing an ad as sexy has referred less to the physical cleavages and abs of the 80’s and 90’s and more to a sense of ‘Shiny’.

So does the environmental sector need to get shiny?

Yes and no. The world is a very different place than it was just ten years ago. In the world of marketing, this manifests itself in the way that authenticity sells more than sparkles.

 

I repeat: Authenticity sells

 

WOOP WOOP! This is great news for the environmental sector as it is if full of passionate and inspiring, authentic individuals. The bad news is these individuals usually don’t feel comfortable navigating the social media jungle. Often, they even to downplay their media presence on purpose.

 

The WHY, the passion, and the story

Authenticity is scary and daunting, and if you —like me— remember a time before the internet you probably don’t have an urge to create a youtube channel, or write about your innermost secret online.

But this is what vast parts of the internet is now. Liza Koshy, an internet celebrity with over 40 million online followers, announced her breakup with fellow youtube celebrity David Dobrik via a youtube video. I dare you to watch and not get something in your eye.

You might be thinking, yeah well, all of these people are going to regret plastering the internet like this. But this is the equivalent of my older generations telling my peers and me, that we would regret spending so much time playing video games. We didn’t. In fact, we all have great memories of those games and it shaped who we became as individuals, and as a culture. To spell it out:

 

Being vulnerable and authentic online isn’t something we’re going to regret. It’s the new normal.

 

Is scary, it’s new, and it feels like it goes against everything you know. But you need to show more of yourself and your values if you want to create trust.

Your audience what to know ‘Why’ you are doing what you are doing. Why are you selling biodegradable cutlery, why are you working to prevent deforestation, and in my case why are you writing about behavioral change online instead of having a normal 9-5? That also why the ‘About’ page on your website is crucial to your business.

 

So does this mean that you should get rid of your filter and just show the gritty you? No. Youtube videos are edited, Instagram pictures are selected from a batch of 10 different shots and have filters.

And the mother of social media, Facebook, is always showing you the brightest moments of the day — Not the moment where you realize you’ve had something green stuck in your teeth for the entire team meeting.

 

Social Media is more like a first date. It’s an honest representation of you, but you make an effort to look nice. You pick out a nice outfit, you groom yourself, and you show an interest in the other person. It’s still you, but it’s a very presentable side of you.

If you, on the other hand, show up to a first date in your Sunday jammies you’re placing yourself in the back of the field.

It’s the same thing with social media. You show off your best features while remaining honest. Hopefully, this (virtual) date, will lead to a lasting connection between you, and your audience.

But I’m too busy making the world better – I don’t have time for updates

This is the pitfall for most people in the green sector. They work tirelessly to improve the state of the world. Taking time to post about in on Facebook, or take a picture for Instagram, seems like time wasted.

I get it, I’m the same.

You would rather be doing your job than tweeting about your job.

But the world has changed a lot, and social media is a crucial element for success. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling eco-friendly swimwear or building drought protection in Africa, get online!

One solution is to hire someone to do it for you. If this is not an option for you right now, keep reading to get hands-on advice. Don’t worry, I’m right here with you, and we’ll take it slow.

Going back to the dating analogy, you might feel nervous about putting yourself out there. You want everything to be perfect before you start. Forget about it.

Like I said authenticity sells. There is no such thing as the perfect social media campaign or perfect strategy. But there are a few rules of thumbs.

One of them is simply knowing how your target audience act on the internet, and what the trends are.

 

Memes, emojis, and fads – know your audience

The first time I used Snap(chat) as a verb, I got mad street cred from my stepdaughter while her dad stared blankly from the other side of the table and asked: ‘what’?

If you have kids, you’ll know that they are on top of fashion and trends in a way that’s hard for you to comprehend. If you are trying to change the behavior of teenagers, you need a campaign that targets — and a lot of patience.

 

If this picture makes no sense to you, you really need to read the rest of this post.

 

But even if you are targeting adults, you need to be aware of the unique language that makes up the internet.

The web is built on jokes and references that people know and cherish. Some are obvious, and some are not. Having success on social media requires you to understand what memes, and emojis your audience likes. Just like you need to know how your audience acts on the internet.

How the internet works — Lessons from Tesla

Regardless of what you think of Tesla, they know how the internet works.
In 2014, which is almost generations ago in internet time, Tesla released all their patents in the hope of pushing the global EV production further.

It was, as the CEO Elon Musk put it, in the spirit of the open source movement, which was sweeping the internet at the time. But more importantly, the news took the internet with storm when Tesla paired it with the words:

All Our Patent Are Belong To You

If you were not a citizen of the internet at the time, this looked like an awkward spelling error. Embarrassing, right?  Nope. It was, in fact, a stroke of genius.

It references the meme All Your Base Are Belong to Us, which is a classical internet meme.

By choosing this headline, anyone who was in on the joke was likely to share the news, and help give it a viral life on the web, instead of “just” a news story about a car manufacturer who for some reason was giving away all their secrets.

In fact, Musk has a long history of working the internet to mainstream knowledge about new technologies, like appearing on the Wait but why blog, and latest introducing flamethrowers and cyborg dragons.

 

Why it worked — Building trust

Using memes and internet slang that your audience uses, is equivalent to showing them, that you speak the same language as them – You are on their team. It feeds into a culture and therefore a sense of belonging. It very simply builds trust and rapport.

I’ve heard green professionals protest to this approach with the question: But isn’t that manipulation?

You can answer that better than me: Are you manipulating people when you are having a conversation with them, in their native language?

Striped of body language and why to use emojis — Get social

Speaking in a mutual language shows the person you’re talking to, that you understand them, and share their values. The same rule applies on the web.

It’s something most of us do per default when meeting new people. We tend to find subjects we have in common, and even start to copy each others body language. This is a natural part of human communications. The reason it feels weird on social media is because it’s happening on a new platform.

The internet still feels like something different from “normal” human behavior. But, understand that the line between “normal human behavior” and internet behavior, are getting blurrier by the day.

Showing someone that you are part of their culture is called mirroring. Well known in social psychology, mirroring is the act of copying each others body language, either consciously or subconsciously.

If you want to see this effect in full action, find a couple who is on their first date. Watch how they tend to sip their water at the same time, straighten their back in the same way, and so on.

On the internet, you don’t have the luxury of using body language to communicate. This is part of the reason why emojis and memes should be a natural part of your online presence.

 

There are many numbers floating around referring to how much of our communication is verbal, and how much is non-verbal.  One of them is the 55-38-7 rule, also known as Albert Mehrabian’s rule. This is the belief is that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual spoken or written words. This rule has been much debated and to a high degree debunked, because of the uncertainty about the percentile.

To put it in another way, we know body language and tone of voice are dominant in communication, we just don’t know how much.

 

A world without Verbal communication

Verbal and Non-verbal communication complement each other and brings the message home faster. We can all relate to being a kid and hearing our mother say ‘come here.’

Happy mom — something green

You know from the tone in her voice and the look in her eyes if you’re about to get a snuggle or a talking to.

But imagine if you only had the words to work with. You would have to go to your mom and ask follow-up questions to figure out what she wanted.

Without emojis and other communications tools (like brakes, quotation marks, exclamation marks, cursive and so on), the internet is an eternal struggle for our brain to figure out what the person on the other end is saying, and how their feeling.

 

Ever had an e-mail from a coworker where you’re not sure if they approve of your work, or hate it? If you’re like me, you’ll spend a fair amount of time thinking about what they mean, and how to reply. If it had been a face-to-face conversation, instead of e-mail, you would know for sure.

Unfortunately, the busier we are, the more inclined we are to leave out the little ‘good job’ or happy emoji at the end of the e-mail, because we default to writing the way we speak, not remembering that we also speak with our body’s.

Wow, that was a lot of information. Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but we’re still not done.

The internet is possibly the most powerful weapon in the history of mankind. Without going further into the negative sides like election manipulation, the spreading of fake news, and polarisation, the internet can be a tool for positive change.

 

In the next post, I break down how you can use the force of the web, to change the world.

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It’s hard to be green -Why environmentalism needs to be the default option, and how to do it

The following outlines how complexity can hinder good environmental actions, and how you as an environmental planner or product manufacturer can overcome it. And yes, I am going somewhere with the coffee story.

 

Hi, my name is Mona and I’m a coffee addict.

Seeing as it’s one of my only vises in life, I don’t really mind it. But it does mean that I am not a functional human being without my morning Joe, and that is what prompted today’s post.

 

I’m currently staying with some friends who are very techy. Their house is filled with robots, drones, and really cool gadgets. As well, their coffee maker is really advanced, you know the kind that has an inbuilt alarm so it can have the coffee ready for you before you’re out of bed. It also has an inbuilt grinder so you can get fresh coffee. Amazing, right? Wrong!

The darn thing never works, and in its effort to be as simple as possible, it only has one on/off button and a nob that also works like a button. This morning I spend 15 minutes trying to get it to grind the beans. 15! I’m not gonna brand shame so I won’t tell you the name of the coffee machine.

There were just too few buttons and no matter what I pushed, or in which order, it didn’t work. In the end, I gave up. I sat defeated and ate my breakfast with a glass of water.

 

 

Why am I telling you this?

 

Because a coffee maker that’s too complicated to operate is a spot-on example of how our world is way more complicated than it needs to be.

And the same goes for acting environmentally friendly.

If you live in a westernized country or the metropolises of high-tech South East Asia, you probably have some sort of waste management and recycling scheme.

Those schemes have rules, and those rules are often really complicated and with a large set of exceptions. This is because of technical requirements from the waste treatment facilities. It makes recycling confusing for us mortals who just want to know how to sort our waste in the right way.

 

Likewise, if your gonna purchase a new car, and you want to get one that is environmentally friendly, what do you get? One with good mileage? An electric? A used car? Which is better? The answer is the same, ‘Well it depends…’

But we don’t want to dig into why there are so many differences in regards to buying an environmentally friendly car, we just want the answer: What is the best car I can buy if I care about the environment?

 

Acting environmentally friendly can be hard and complicated because our world is unnecessarily complicated.

If you promoting a greener behavior, or selling a green product, it is your job to make it as easy as possible for your audience/consumer, to do the right thing.

 

How to make it easy

 

Seeing as I still haven’t had coffee yet, I’ll give you the bare minimum.

Test it! Then test it. And then test it again.

If you’re asking someone to act in a different way, you need to test if what you are asking them is sufficiently easy and understandable. Test your message or product over and over until you have made it as approachable as possible.

 

I call this the Grandma Test.

Green Design How To

Edit (06.08.18): I was actually meeting my grandma after writing this, so I took the opportunity to put a face to the concept. Here she is.

If I can explain something in a way that even my stubborn, 82-year-old grandma gets it, then I’m on to something.

My formal education is Technological Socio-Economical Planner.

 

That fails the grandma test massively. Therefore I and most of my old uni buddies boil it down to the essence: Environmental Planner. Or as grandma says, ‘Something with environment.’

 

This is where the discussion of dumbing down usually comes up. I will say this until I am in my grave:

It’s not about dumbing down, it’s about removing unnecessary complexity.

I’m not a stupid person, nor am I a tech illiterate, but I’ll remind you that I battled the coffee maker for 15 minutes, and lost!

That’s what happens when things get too fancy.

 

Maybe when I have had my coffee, I’ll write the post about why humans always make things more complicated and what it means for our environment, and society as a whole.

 

For now, I highly advise you that whatever change you want to make in the world, you make sure that your actions are easy to follow and that you keep your instructions clear.

And on that note, I’m gonna dig out the old school Italian espresso maker, because that never fails me.

Want more caffeinated advice on pro-environmental behavior? Add me on LinkedIn or go to Somethinggreen.org to get your dose.

Wanna see my spaceship? How to communicate with climate change deniers

Ever wondered how to communicate with climate change deniers. In the previous post, I explained WHY there are still climate change deniers out there. Now I’m giving you hands-on advice, on how to break the neurological stubbornness — and yes, there’s a spaceship.

 

If you work in the environmental field, you will encounter several different personas.

One of them is the denier. He denies the logic of whatever argument you make.

 

I have worked with recycling for some years now, and the denier personae has some telling characteristics.

I’m gonna break down what that denial looks like, shed light on the actual meaning behind his words, and give you the communication tools to get your message out there. Most importantly, you won’t come off as a personal threat.

A conversation with the denier might go something like the following. For the sake of the example, I’m going to give my denier a name.

Meet Dave! He’s attending a talk I’m giving, about the importance of recycling.

 

Communicate with climate change deniers_ Dave

Our “Dave”

Me: Sorting your waste is really good for the environment.

Dave: Hah! Once the garbage trucks pick up the waste, they’re just going to put it all in the same container anyway.

Me: No, the garbage trucks don’t mix the waste. It is kept separated and brought to a processing plant.

Dave: I don’t believe you. They’re just going to mix it.

 

 

Understanding the underlying emotions

Timeout. Let’s look at the interaction. I’m giving Dave some information, and he’s refuting it.

At first glans it may look like Dave just has the wrong information, or that he’s an arrogant twat. He’s basically saying that he knows more about the waste industry than I do. I am the person working with waste after all, and Dave thinks he knows better than me.

If I didn’t know why Dave is acting like this, it might be a frustrating situation, where I leave the room feeling like I’m wasting my time on stubborn, old Dave.

But if we dissect the situation, and look at the emotional conversation of what Dave “hears”, and “says”,  here’s the actual interaction:

 

Me: You need to sort your waste because otherwise, you’re being a bad person by not caring about the environment.

Dave: I don’t want to recycle, cause I’m afraid it’s gonna take a lot of effort on my behalf and I might not be able to get it right. If I can’t sort my waste correctly, it will hurt my ego.  I like to think that I am good at most things, so sorting my recycling wrong will make me feel inadequate.

Therefore I‘m gonna use this old rumor I heard about the garbage trucks mixing the waste, to prove to myself, and to you, that the whole thing is a waste of time and energy. Then I won’t have to change my mind or my actions. More importantly, I won’t have to risk the ego punch of not knowing how to recycle.

 

 

Remember my post about some convictions being tied to a sense of self. Well, this is one of them. On a subconscious level I am a threat to Dave, because I am “telling him,” that he’s a bad person by not recycling, and that there’s something he’s not good at.

 

There’s a chance you’re reading this right now and thinking:

‘No. Come on, Mona, people are better than that. No one feels emotionally threatened by waste.’

 

Are you sure? Having a strong sense of identity is normal and sometimes that identity is tied up on being good at something specific.

Other times, it’s tied up on being good at everything. Or maybe even being bad at everything.

 

Try taking just a few minutes to, mentally, go through your friends and family members. Do you know people who don’t like being wrong? Do you have relatives who take criticism very personally?

Did you ever go to school with someone who only saw their mistakes and weaknesses, and disregarded every good grade they got?

Humans are not rational beings, and climate change is really scary and complex. Humans aren’t good with complex issues — we like simple solutions and quick-fixes.

 

 

Get on their team — how to not be a threat

Okay, not that we’ve learned to listen to the emotional conversation, it’s time to do better.

With more than 5 years as a professional trash-talker, I’ve met a lot of “Daves”.

When I do, and am greeted with the counter-argument that they just mix the waste, I say the following, magical words:

This is the van. Pretty neat, eh?

I used to think that too!

Yes, I remember the story of when it happened in [insert whatever city you feel like], but then I went to see the trucks in action, and they have made these really cool technological advances on the trucks.

Now, the trucks have separate compartments for the different kinds of trash. It’s really cool!

 

 

All of the above is true, I had heard the rumors of the mixing and had, at one point, believed them. By telling Dave this, I put myself in the same boat as my audience, before giving him more information.

 

To recap:

I, via my choice of words, tell Dave that he and I are the same. I understand him, I am like him. I also (subconsciously) used the excuse of the truck.

If I get the feeling that it’s the fear of not messing up the recycling that’s standing in the way, I say this:

‘Dude, I’ve always been into the environment but I was so confused when I first started recycling. Like, is this plastic or glass, right? Luckily, someone showed me this trick to tell it apart. The rest was just a matter of practice. It didn’t take that long, and now I can help my grandmother recycle.’

 

You need to put yourself on the same team as your audience.
Understand them. Respect them. When you do that, you are no longer a threat.

I do the same when I speak in front of larger audiences.

The following is a little trick I use. Feel free to steal it and use for your own line of environmental work.

When talking to a larger crow of people, with many different backgrounds where I haven’t the slight clue if they are “Daves”, I say hello, I introduce myself, and then I say:

“Would you like see my spaceship? I swear, it’s not a pickup line.”

 

Then I show them this photo.

 


“This is my spaceship, the big round one. I live on it with 6 billion of my closest friends.

On a spaceship, you have to bring all your resources. Food, water, tools, a guitar, and so on.

When you’ve used your resources, that’s it. You don’t have anymore, it’s gone. So you need to manage your resources and not overspend.

The same thing goes for our globe. We only have a finite amount of resources, and if we use them all, that’s it, it’s gone. This is why we need to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.”

 

Yes, the above will get different reactions depending on your audience. Some will find it childish, and even patronizing. Never the less it still breaks down a barrier between me and the receiver and creates a common frame of reference, giving me a solid based to start from.

 

I repeat:

Starting a talk by establishing a collective understanding of the subject (creating a common frame of reference) means, I build trust with my audience, and get in the same boat as them.

Throughout the talk, I’ll now be able to refer back to the spaceship, and why it’s important that we manage our resources.

 

 

Summing up — how to deal with deniers

1. You’re not perfect either. First of all remember, that you too have been a stubborn mule at some point. I sure know I have (Sorry Jens, you were right about the equator thing).

Remembering that we’re all humans and that we all have areas where we’ve stubborn or feel vulnerable, will make it much easier talking to people, who are currently neurologically tied to their conviction.

2. Don’t be the Hulk. Remember, that when you are in a debate with a denier, you are emotionally threatening the receiver. You look like the Hulk, ready the smash them with your beliefs. To put it in another way; your facts and evidence, are emotionally hurtful.

It’s important for me to stress that this doesn’t mean you should discard evidence and facts, for the sake of making the other person feel emotionally at ease. But if you are an emotional threat, your listener will treat you like that and will either fight or flight. I’m sure you’re experienced both before.

3. Use your common denominator. Find common ground, something you can agree on, and use that as an entrance to start a respectful conversation about the subject. When you peel away all the convictions, the cultural differences, and our social bubbles, we all really want the same thing — to be happy. Does the change you want to make tie into the other person’s idea of happiness? Why, why not?

You don’t have to be preaching to the choir to find common ground with your audience — just respect them, and be curious.

 

I know the above is hard work, and the world we live in is making it harder. The social media bubbles only allow us to see what people with similar opinions think. At the same time the fast pace of the internet is deteriorating our ability to learn complicated subjects and keep a healthy critical mind. (If you want to know more about this subject, I highly recommend reading The Shallows.)

 

Okay, that’s it for now. Now go and test it out in your field. I would LOVE to hear how you’ve used it, and if it helped! So leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

If you need help communicating your green message to your audience, get in touch! We do web copy, e-mails, social media campaigns, and much more.

 

 

Communicate with climate change deniers_ wired for stubborness

Communicating with climate change deniers — how to change minds when change is hard

Communicating with climate change deniers is not a walk in the park. Beliefs are tied to the neurological sense of self, and when you challenge that belief with facts, you challenge that sense of self.

Therefore, you need to understand the denier in front of you, and tailor your communication to circumvent neurological stubbornness. This post gives you concrete steps to do that.

 

Back in March 2017, I was asked to give a presentation about behavioral change, and why we have such a hard time changing our mind. This post is the laydown of that talk.


Why are there still climate deniers?

With the dire news of yet again surpassing a threshold of CO2 we’re pumping into the atmosphere, I want to talk a little bit about why there are still climate deniers out there, and how you should approach them.

With all the evidence of anthropogenic climate change, it seems mindboggling that anyone would refuse to believe in it. Some of those people are your neighbors, some are your family members, and some are presidents. You might find yourself thinking, why are people so stupid, the evidence is right there?

Turns to we’re not stupid, just human, and there are different reasons why some people don’t seem to get down with climate facts.

Let’s dig in.

Social bubbles and no-fact land

Two of the causes are social bubbles and the post-factual world.

I won’tCommunicate with climate change deniers - Somethinggreen.org go deep into this, but in short; you howl with the wolfs in your pack.

The same thing goes for posting on the internet. You only see posts from people, who are posting the same general themes and content as you.

 

Why? Because Facebook and other social platforms make a profit by keeping you online longer, and you will keep scrolling if the updates in your feed if it excites you. Hence, your feed has been tailored by algorithms to show you only things you will like, keeping you scrolling for hours on end.

This also means that you don’t see posts from people you disagree with. Your view of the world isn’t challenged on a regular basis. Instead, you are daily getting confirmation, in the form of likes and comments, that you are right, smart, funny and generally awesome. This has an effect on your sense of ‘being right’, as well as your ego.

The more posts you see from people who are similar to you, the more you feel like your worldview is the one true view.

If you have many climate deniers in your social circle, you will see a lot of climate denial posts. Even if you start out with a little skepticism in regards to climate science, the more climate skeptic links you click on, the more climate change denial you will see in your feed.

 

From equations to crystal healing in a week

You can test this out for yourself by only clinking on certain themes of links for about a week.

 

I accidently proved this point recently, and it took me down the peculiar algorithm rabbit hole of Facebook.

A friend had lost a bet and, as his punishment, had to attend an event about the remote healing of horses — meaning how a stranger can make your sick horse feel better, from miles away, using the power of thought… Right.

 

I found it hilarious that he had lost the bet, and clicked on the event to see just how outrageous it was. Schadenfroh much?

A week later, my Facebook feed informed me that the same friend was attending an event about angels, because he had lost another bet – and again, I clicked on the event to see what he had to endure this time.

Then, social media karma kicked in…

I  started getting adds for crystal healing, angel events, aura readings and so on. I am now struggling with getting rid of these ads in my feed, as I really don’t have a need for chakra healing in my life. I’m pretty sure my solar plexus just need more coffee.

 

So yeah, You reap what you click, and this is the price I pay for succumbing to clicking on punishment-events on Facebook, instead of doing something productive.

 

If you want to dig deeper, here’s more on the subject of social bubbles.

Why fact when I can feel?

In recent years, there’s been a rise in the notion, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.

I honestly think that’s a good thing, but…

Unfortunately, this sorta merged into: Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and that opinion matters as much as facts. We see this in political debates where a scientist will comment on a situation, and an opposing argument will be laid out, by someone who just feels differently.
This is where I get frustrated because it does not.

 

“But Mona, sometimes it turns out that the science was wrong, so obviously the facts can’t be trusted”.

 

It’s a compelling argument, but it also amplifies the social bubble effect, where everything tends to be binary. Either you’re right and I’m wrong, or vice versa. The world becomes black and white where we move further and further away from having an adult debate …and then we default to our opinions.

It’s true that every now and then, facts are disputed because we learne more about the world — like the fact that led paint isn’t good for you — but doesn’t mean feelings and opinions have the same legitimacy as our current knowledge base.

Bringing emotions to a scientific debate is like bringing a rubber chicken to a gunfight — everybody ends up looking silly.

 

The world we live in now is very different from the world we knew just a few years back. The Post-factual world, as it has been named, allows opinions and emotions to have the same argumentative weight in public discussions.

This link touches on the post-factual world, where opinions get as much (or more) airtime than facts, because it sells.

 

So what happens when we get new information, telling us that we’re wrong?

If it turns out the facts are not in our favor, we say:
‘Oh, we learned a new thing. Let’s see how this changes our worldview’.

…Except we don’t. Because we are humans, and our complex neurological brain soup hasn’t caught up with our current social structures and clickbait laded lives.

And on top of all of this, climate change is a complex problem, without any quick-fix solutions. And this makes it even harder for deniers to trust in science.

 

At the root for both of these causes lie a bigger reason as to why there are still so many climate deniers out there.


Why you can’t change your mind: I am my opinion.

We’ve all had debates with people who where non-movable, and it makes Thanksgiving a night of hell. No matter how much evidence you present them with, they just become more and more stubborn. Why is that?

It’s long been recognized in the fields of sociology and psychology, that the more you identify with your opinion, or stance — meaning the more you feel it’s a part of your personality — the harder it is for you to change your mind about it.

This is especially true if it also relates to your social/family life, like a spiritual community for instance (think Scientology or other cults).

It turns out the reason for this isn’t just psychological, it’s biological.

 

These days there is a lot of brain research happening and it’s connections to our emotions, mood, mental disorders, and decision-making processes. And the results will blow your mind.

 

One study conducted by Jonas T. Kaplan, Sarah I. Gimbel & Sam Harris, is especially interesting for anyone working with behavioral change.

The team put people inside fMRI scanners and gave the participants information about different topics. Some of the information was designed to go against the current belief systems of the participant.

 

”In this study, we performed functional MRI to measure the brain activity of 40 individuals with strong political views as they encountered arguments against their beliefs … Inside the fMRI scanner, participants saw a series of statements they previously indicated strongly believing, followed by several challenging counterarguments.

After participants read all five counterarguments, the original statement was shown again and they reported their post-challenge belief strength. The difference between pre-scan and post-challenge ratings was used as a measure of belief change.”

 

So in short, they measured how the brain reacted to new information, that contradicted the existing worldview.

And the results are in: BRAAAAINS…

I’ll get into what this means below the picture,  but enjoy the pretty brains.

 

Figure 1: Brain activation during challenges to political vs. non-political beliefs. From: Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence.

 

As you see there are two different color schemes on this image.

(If you can’t see that you’re probably colorblind, and should buy a pair of the new, ultra cool EnChroma color blindness glasses)

The colors are not for aesthetics. The blue and green’ish colors are the areas in the brain that light up when the participants are given the non-political information. The red and yellow’ish colors are the areas with the political information.

 

These two types of information make the Christmas lights in the brain illuminate different areas. Why??

The non-political info lights up the frontal lobe. That’s the part of the brain responsible for making rational choices.

The political information, on the other hand, light up in the areas of the brain associated with deep emotions and the sense of self.

 

Let’s recap: Your political convictions is, on a neurological level, associated with deep emotions and the sense of self.

 

This is really important because it means that there is a deep biological, neural link between you and your political opinion. You can’t talk reason to this part of the brain, meaning…

 

Your audience is emotional and neurologically attached to their belifssystem. When you tell them they are wrong, you are challenging the very foundation of their existence.

 

If you are working with climate communication, I would suggest that you get the above tattooed on your wrist, because it makes a world of a difference in your work.

No matter how many facts you pour onto someone, you will not change their mind – in fact, as a self-preservation method they might refute your facts and become even more stubborn in their belief. This is the backfire effect.

There is, sort to speak, a neurological stubbornness in all of us, which can make mind-changing a daunting task.

 

A shortcut to mind-changing

 

Changing your mind is hard.

Does this mean that your effort is in vain, or that it will only pay off in the far future? Luckily, no. The before mentioned study found that:

 

Post-challenge belief strength was reduced for both political and non-political statements, indicating that the counterevidence did, at least temporarily, affect reported belief strength.

However, the change was significantly greater for non-political beliefs. Follow-up questionnaires completed weeks later showed that reduced belief strength persisted for the non-political beliefs.

 

What this little gem also say is, your effort is not in vain. There is some change, even if temporary, and even if your receiver won’t admit to it — I have a coworker like that.

We see the gradual change all around us. Whether it’s the global community slowly accepting anthropogenic climate change, or your spouse admitting, after 5 freaking years, that you were right about ‘that thing’.

 

More importantly:
It’s easier to change your beliefs about non-political issues than political ones, as these are not as strongly tied up to your sense of self. This also means…

 

 You can and should use non-political issues as an entrance to mind changing.

 

There are a number of small shortcuts you can use when conveying environmental information.

 

Okay, this post is already like 1 trillion words long, but don’t fret!

In the follow-up post, I’ll give you a hands-on example of how I personally circumvent the neurological resistance to information when I give talks. There will be spaceships!

—-

If you have an audience that needs a good brain-tickle, don’t be afraid to reach out! Something Green does content writing for web pages, newsletters, Social Media and more.

 

 

Biodegradable glitter vol. 2 – For the sparkly environmentalist in you

I tested biodegradable glitter vs. conventional glitter. This is my verdict.

Biodegradable glitter: Photographer Nadya Lev, makeup Risa Robins Moloney, model Tilde Ann Thurium

 

Boy, that was some party! I’m just waking up from it. I won’t bore you with the details about the six fire spinners, the aerial art, the Cow Girl Burlesque act, or the glitter ass slap, cause I’m sure you don’t care about any of that.

 

Instead, let’s dive right into the very scientific test of biodegradable glitter (Read about the test setup here).

 

Decomposing in tap water

I never got around to test this. Mainly because I was home very late and was very tired. Woops. So yeah, I still have to do that. I guess there will be a third post about glitter.

 

On your body

Short recap first. If you have ever been in contact with glitter, you know that cleanup sucks big time. You cannot get that sparkly herpes off you.

If you’ve ever done burlesque, a glitter party, pride, or just a badass new year, you know perfectly well that you will find glitter everywhere on your body.

You will find glitter places you don’t want to admit you’ve found glitter. It’s tyranny and always has been …Until now [Warning profanities might occur].

 

So yeah, this is what happens at 3 am in my house.

Oh my fucking god!

It came off! It just came off! I washed my face with tap water when I came home, and my sparkly face just melted away!!!

I have NEVER in my life tried anything like it. Whatever glitter that was still left the next morning, disappeared when I took a shower. This is a picture of a very tired me, before and after dealing with glitter, at 3 am.

 

In terms of body clean up, biodegradable glitter is APPROVED!

 

The cleanup

Well, I for one can hardly get my hands down. My floor is clean. No glitter! Well, almost no glitter.

On any given day you will most likely find sparkly bits in my apartment. I think there’s a stockpile from the years and years of glitter related events. I got some glitter on my boots, but it rubbed off pretty easily.

 

Conclusion

When tested against conventional glitter, biodegradable glitter kicks ass! It’s good for the environment and it’s easier to clean up. Win-win!

 

However, there are a few things which worry me

There is still something I want to address regarding the bio-glitter.

The founders of bio-glitter told me this about the shine of it:

 

 

 

The shiny part of the glitter comes from a thin layer of aluminum which is in itself not biodegradable, but because of the small amount it is, according to European regulations, degradable.

I’m all down for European standards, but this part still bothers me. A thin layer of aluminum is still aluminum. It might not harm you, or larger animals, but it will still be consumed by smaller animals.

These animals will then again be consumed by larger animals, transporting the potentially accumulated aluminum to the larger animals, which will then again be consumed by even larger animals, adding even more aluminum via the food chain.

 

This is called bioaccumulation.

 

It is still unclear if the bioaccumulation of aluminum is harmful to animals or humans. This article suggests that accumulation of aluminum is related to a number of disease states, particularly those relating to oxidative stress.

 

What to do – High, medium, or low impact

The major issue with conventional glitter is still the microplastic pollution it generates.

As with all things you purchase, make sure that small pieces don’t fall off it, and buy good quality.  Here are a few steps you can take to end plastic pollution.

 

Low impact: Switch to biodegradable glitter. I do not say to toss out all your existing glitter, but use it with care. When you remove glitter nail polish, make sure not to flush excess glitter down the drain, but instead throw it in the trash.

Medium impact: Donate money to one of the organizations working towards banning microplastic, or spread the word on social media

High impact: Get involved in the political organizations that work to ban microbeads and raise awareness of microfibers.

 

Ps: If you love glitter nail polish, like I do, remember you can make your own with biodegradable glitter. Buy some eco glitter, and clear nail polish, and mix. Voila! Ready for the next party!

Biodegradable glitter – For the sparkly environmentalist in you

Just in time for Christmas and New Years, biodegradable glitter is here! And the webshop opens tomorrow, so check out EcoSparkels!

First of all, I am not getting paid to write this. I have been a glitter lover for almost as long as I’ve been an environmental blogger, so joining the two is a sparkly dream come true.

It was also a bit of a slap in my environmental face, as I had never paused to consider what glitter is actually made of.

What is glitter made of?

Well… Long story short, it’s basically shiny microplastic. Yep,  as in the microplastic that nations around the world are now forbidding, because it’s poisoning our food streams.

And I’ve used a lot of glitter. Boy, have I sparkled. I feel really bad about it now, and I hope to the big sparkly unicorn in the sky, that this biodegradable glitter isn’t just a scam. Because if it is, I can’t go back to my old shiny ways, knowing that my shine is really just tiny pieces of plastic, on a mission to pollute food streams, water resources, while poisoning earthworms.

EcoSparkles are hosting a release party in my home city this Saturday, and I’m gonna join the madness. But one does not simply trust biodegradable glitter. How is it biodegradable?

I’ve written EcoSparkles to find out what their glitters composed of. This is what the owners told me:

EcoSparkels are produced from biodegradable and compostable microfilm, made of cellulose from Eucalyptus. The trees are grown and harvested in line with FSC and PEFC standard, ensuring that the soil is not overexploited.

The shiny part of the glitter comes from a thin layer of aluminium, which is in itself not biodegradable, but because of the small amount it is, according to European regulations, degradable.

Both the bio-glitter and the holographic glitter, is tested free from toxins, parabens, and heavy metals. It’s cosmetically certified and can be used directly on your skin.

It’s broken down by natural bacteria, and we [the founders of EcoSparkels] used it for an outdoor festival, where they saw it almost dissolve in from of our eyes.

Because it’s tested free of toxins and heavy metals, it doesn’t cause harm to natural and oceanic life, if consumed.

We recommend using bio-glitter at outdoor events, for example. festivals and summer celebrations, to lower you ecological footprint considerably, compared with conventional glitter.

Crafts glitter is produced mostly of PVC or PET that is oil-based and therefore does not degrade naturally. In addition, we have found that a lot of conventional glitter is loaded with heavy metals are very harmful to the skin by direct contact. This is also very harmful if left in natural surroundings.

Our glitter, both biodegradable and the holographic, is produced in England by the local produce wood. This reduces the CO2 footprint, as the wood is not shipped from the other side of the globe.

Biodegradable Glitter EcoSparkels.

The two founders of EcoSparkels.

Eucalyptus trees are a very invasive species, thus making it easy to plant and maintain a healthy population. We see as a positive use of a plant, that has negative qualities.

However, our holographic glitter is made of PET plastic, making oil based. But it is still tested free and certified for cosmetic use.
Our supplier is working on develop a biodegradable holographic glitter, but it is harder to work with since it has a “rainbow” -surface and thus require thicker aluminum than bio-glitter.

We state clearly on our website that we only recommend the holographic glitter in urban environments and we make an effort to inform our costumers about our ecological footprint of the holographic glitter.

The above gave me a lot of thoughts about the pros and cons of such product, and I’ll have to get back to them in the follow-up post.

I got the reply late one night when I was actually on my way to bed. I lay in bed thinking about it.

Hmm. Cellulose. If that’s so, and it really does dissolve in front of you, you should be able to see it dissolve if you put it in a glass of water, at home –I thought to myself, instead of sleeping like a normal person.

Then I thought, well if it dissolves in tap water, it should dissolve in the shower.

OH MY GOD! Clean up will be a breeze! My head carried on for an addition 5 minutes until I finally got out of bed, and wrote this post.

So now the question stands: I this new glitter really biodegradable to a point where it makes a difference?

Myself being no stranger to glitter I decided to test it, you know, in the name of Science.

The highly scientific setup:

Decomposing in tap water: Take two glasses of regular tap water. Put eco-sparkles in one glass, and conventional glitter in the other, to determine if it does decompose to a visual degree.

On your body: Yes, you know this game. If you’ve ever been part of a glitter party, you know that stuff will never, ever rub off. If will take you four-six good damn showers before you’re remotely clean.

Will biodegradable glitter be different? We’ll see. I’ll document as best I can with pictures.

The clean up: And following the trail of thoughts: You know what your floors look like after a burlesque party or a New Year’s party? Glitter all over the floorboards! All over!

It’s the herpes of the craft world. It sticks like superglue and won’t come off. If you’ve ever wondered why, here’s an explanation.

This experiment actually requires me to bring home a bunch of glitter – and then bother to clean up the next day. Seeing as we have guests come over I guess I have a good reason to clean anyway. But um, let’s just see if I remember to take some I-got-home-pictures.

That’s is!

Stay tuned for the follow-up post next week, where you also get tips on how to combat microplastic.

May you sparkle like environmentally friendly diamonds.

Kickstarter-logo

Kickstarting the future – The role of crowdfunding in green tech

The following is a short post about the role of crowdfunding in sustainable innovation.

 

A few weeks back, I shared a post about this Kickstarter project, about the world’s first mass produced edible cutlery on Linked-in. Seeing it reach its goal makes my heart overflow with joy. Imagine eating your favorite fast food dish, and then just eating the spoon?!

If successful, this product will eliminate the need for plastic utensils. Click it, you know you want to.

A new driver for green innovation

Research funding is a term generally covering any funding for scientific research and technology.

Currently research and development, or R&D, is primarily conducted by corporations. This accounts for two thirds of tech- research, with an additional 20% of research carried out by Universities, and 10% by government.moon-landing

 

Don’t be fooled by the apparent insignificance of governmental funding. Remember, mankind went to space, and then to the moon. Both were government funded projects.

 

Historically, Denmark has been a country keen on making investments in green tech. Well, at least when the left wing parties have held office. This is of course the drawback of the democratic process. Certain technologies doesn’t always get funded when the political tides change. Denmark was leading in wave energy research back in the early millennia until a change in government meant, that all funding in that area got terminated.

 

But beside from that, the Danish government has a history of being a driver for green tech, with research for wind turbines and insulation being our most predominant success stories. In addition tax exemptions for certain green tech, and other instruments have been used to push forward the green agenda. (Note: this is a very simplified explanation. I recommend the book Ecological Modernity for those of you who wish to go deeper into the field).

 

Will crowdfunding replace governmental or University funded R & D?

No. It’s important to understand, that the amount of money needed to invent or rethink a technology, cannot be crow funded. That doesn’t mean government or academia is the only way to fund new technology. Just look at the history of Tesla Motors.

 

Governmental funding is also still a good indicator of what society as a whole wants to put effort into, and big governmental funding can generate momentum and credibility to emerging technologies. On the down side, if you’ve ever held a job on the public sector, you know the levels of bureaucracy that you need to work through, in order to get that funding – Which is totally fair, seeing as we’re talking about taxpayer money.

money_monajensen

So what can crowdfunding do for tech?

Crowdfunding is an effective way for smaller innovation to find their way into existence. Got a great idea about how to make the world better? Put together a good video, do some good campaigning on social media, and there you go. Sky is the limit.

 

Crowdfunding is filling a void. You can get your word out to almost any corner of the world. If you receive a 1$ donation from 100.000 people, you have $100.000. In many cases this might be insanely easier than getting 1 donation of $100.000.

 

There are many examples of great ideas on kickstarter which went viral and therefore went far beyond their pledged goal. Going back to our cutlery snack, they pledged $20.000. Today, with 5 days of the campaign remaining, they have currently collected $234,597 Yep, more than 10 times the amount they asked for. Do you think there’s a good chance we’ll be eating out fast-food cutlery within the next 5-10 years? I do.

So finally I want to ask you this:

How are you going to change the world, and is crowd funding a tool you can use?

Comment below, or write me. I would love to know more about your project.

 

Canary in the coal mine – why Coca-cola is a great environmental indicator.

The following post will argue that the Coca-cola company is a potent social, and environmental indicator, and why you should pay attention to their environmentally friendly products, and campaigns.

 

A friend of mine recently posted this video on my facebook page (Thanks Sonja). Edit: The video has almost completely disappeared from the internet. It’s even been removed from Coca-colas own site. After 30 min of digging, I did find a video. You can read more about the caps that turn old coke bottles into squirt guns and shampoo dispensers here.

Many people believe because I am ‘Environmental Mona’ I would like this sort of initiative. Well, yes and no.

Although I am pleased that Coca-Cola is taking steps to increase product lifespan, I’m actually not a fan of this particular product. However, I am thrilled about it as an environmental, and social indicator.

Several of the ideas in this video are already being used as DIY projects in Asia. There is no need for a product like the one Coca-cola is selling here, because they are already being made. The DIY projects rose from an economic necessity, and now Coca-cola is mainstreaming them to make a buck.

At the same time, coca-cola is introducing several new products in the world, to extend the lifespan of one other product – in my view, an action that creates a greater problem than it solves.

You now have a situation, where you wanted to expand the life of one end-of-pipe-product (the empty bottle) but created, 10 new plastic things, that you need to buy to extend the life of that one bottle.

You have now generated more material that eventually has to be disposed of.

Also, there’s the ingenious soap-bobble extension. Wow, how fun. Now you’ll have kids begging their parents to buy a set of ten plastic items, to screw on empty soda bottles. And if they don’t have empty bottles?

Yep, buy more fizzy liquid sugar, in a plastic bottle.

From the above, you might think I really, really dislike this product. Well granted, I kind of do. But I also love it. I love it because it reveals so much more about the state of the world than Coca-cola knows.

When Coca-cola launches a product like this, it’s because there’s money to be made. They are putting this product out there because there is a marked for resource awareness. There is already a focus they can tap into.

It is also the reason why they’ve joined the 3D printer market (with an equally redundant 3D-printer). DIY and local manufacturing is a big wave and it will grow over the next decade.

I do not for a second buy into this greenwashing Coca-cola is trying to pull. In my view this product creates far more waste than it eliminates. But they are one of the best environmental and social indicators out there. When they start making noise, you better listen because they will tell you where the money and the focus is. And what is really the underlying platform of money and focus? Need.

So what are they actually saying with this product? What kind of needs are out there right now?

 

1) We (the world) are producing to much waste, and need to change that

2) We (producers and consumers) need to expand the lifespan our products

3) We (the global community) have an interest in doing so, and a knowledge about why it’s important

 

Canary in the Coca-cola coal mine

 

Coca-cola is the canary in the coal mine. When the bird starts behaving differently, you should pay attention.

 

 

 

*Disclaimer: This is the part where I’m supposed to say, that none of this post is targeted directly at the Coca-cola company or any of its products, but who are we kidding. If they have a problem with this post, they can send me an e-mail.

You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth! -Climate change denial, and how to overcome it

In this post, we’re gonna focus on overcoming climate change denial. This means we’re gonna talk about why addressing climate change feel overwhelming, and what you can do about it.

Now we’ve established I’m a +30 cinephile, let’s dig deeper into the truth about climate change, and why we would rather not know.

Before you read further, ask yourself this: Are you willing to give this post a fair change?

 

When the content gets hard to deal with, are you gonna close the tab and go back to puppies and facebook, or are you gonna keep reading?

 

You might as well be honest with yourself because I’m going to be honest with you. More than that, I’m going to shed light on that little voice inside us all, that starts crying when it all gets too real and too overwhelming. The voice that says ‘It can’t be this bad. I’m sure they’ve got it wrong. I’ll go back to reddit now, and look at people who dress like Disney characters’.

If you’re still here you’re already further than most

The truth is we have a dire situation on our hands. Newest data suggests, that we have now surpassed the safe level of atmospheric CO2, averaging at 397.7 ppm in 2014, with a peak 404 ppm in the spring of 2014. The agreed safe level is 400 ppm.

If no drastic measures are taken NOW, we are facing a temperature increase of about 4.5 Degrees Celsius.

This will make many nations look like Water World by the year 2100.

It will also likely result in a big decrease in fish population in the oceans. In combination with our current overfishing, this might result in the death of the ocean. Yes death, as in no more fish in the sea, and hence no more sushi for your chopsticks.

 

If the world does not act in regards to climate change, we are facing droughts, famines, the greatest migration problem ever seen, deforestation, desertification. All in all, a world that sucks.

Overcoming Climate change denial - we're gonna die

See, I told you I was a cinephile


Why isn’t anybody acting?

You already knew that the world is in a bad state. None of the above was news to you, right? So, is there nothing left to do? Should we just give up? No, there are plenty of ways to act.

If we’ve been hearing these warnings for many years now, why are we still on collision-course?

Why are there still heads of state skeptical of climate change? What’s don’t the majority of Americans worry about climate change? And why on earth is the government of my home nation systematically cutting and worsening our climate initiatives?

A part of the problem is, we’ve created this big a complex world, but our hardware, our brain, is monkey_Brain_MonaJensenstill set on ‘monkey’.

The psychical structure and functions of our brains haven’t changed for thousands of years.

As an unfortunate consequence of this, we relate to the world around us as if we still only had to attend to food, shelter, and coitus.

Thinking about what our actions today will bring us 50 years down the road, is just not a natural process for us. Which means..:

 We have to work for it.

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of our brains system 1 and 2. Or the reptile- and the cognitive parts of our brain. In short, we have a lazy brain that wants to conserve energy. It does this, by not working too hard, and converting as many actions as it can, into habits we don’t need to think about – like walking.

You’re pretty skilled at walking. You don’t need to think about that too much. The same with driving a car, brushing your teeth, and talking with your mother-in-law.

All these things we do out of habit. They required a lot of energy and focus from us the first times we did them, and then, with practice and repetition, they become mindless habits.

You gotta work (that lazy brain), bitch

Climate change is not something we can do on autopilot. Grasping the full scope, and furthermore, accepting that we haven’t gained knowledge of the full scope yet, is a job for the cognitive brain. We have to invest energy. This is why it feels so overwhelming.

“What? There’s more? I don’t think I can take it!”

Yes, there is haWork_bitchrd work ahead.

The world’s ecosystems are in a dire state. 2015 has so far had the biggest hurricane ever recorded, the worst droughts ever recorded, and the worst forest fires ever recorded. 50% of the cases of extreme weather of 2014 were attributed to climate change.

 

You wouldn’t be reading this post if you didn’t already know that something is wrong, and you want it to stop being wrong. It not impossible, but it will require work.

Are you still reading? Well done, not only are you among the top percentage of people determined not to stick their head in the sand, and you also building your skill of using your cognitive brain with more ease.

Face the state of your life with determination. You can’t change your situation before you accept it.

What was that thing about it-security?

I fall into the same trap of a lazy brain. I have some really smart people in my network, who know a lot about IT- and data security. They tell me about IT-dangers, and what to do about it.

Every time I feel I have almost gotten up to speed and have a basic level of security, a new threat comes along and I have to learn everything all over again.

Then I think to myself: ‘Oh come on!! Just tell me what to do, already!!security_and_environmental_science

I just want to know, what program I need to install in order to make sure I’m ok in terms of IT security.

But as anyone with the faintest knowledge about IT knows, it’s so much more complex than that.

Just like fighting climate change and working for environmental preservation, is so much more than turning the water off, or buying a Prius.

If you’re not an environmentalist, it’s an immensely complex situation, and the more you learn about it, the more complex it gets. Just like I find IT security a much bigger subject the more I learn about it.

 

Making the complex manageable

Finally gaining this insight was a blessing and a curse. It became obvious that my post needed to be centered on making sense of the immense, and turning the mass of numbers and facts into something you could actually do.

 

This is also the reason for my environmental planner‘s ABCs. Which takes us full circle back to what you can do when facing the truth about climate change. I will cover this in the next blog post.

A short note on the Cowspiracy documentary

 

Overall the movie hits a critical subject that should be addressed to a greater degree. I do however want to comment a bit on it:

If you want to quote the movie while arguing for vegetarian/vegan diet, do not use the numbers given in this movie. Most numbers are accurate, but a few are misleading. The agricultural sector is not bigger than the energy sector.

Facts and flaws in the Cowspiracy documentary

Facts and flaws in the Cowspiracy documentary

The movie had a few scenes where one sided arguments and opinions weight heavier than facts. For instance, I find his critic of Allan Savory very biased, and misleading. Yes, Savory did order the termination of thousands elephants, for conservational purposes, but openly admits to the mistake (Note, Savory’s method has met a lot of criticism from peer reviewed researcher). But the method of diminishing his expertise in the movie is one I find unprofessional, and borders on ‘Emotional Porn’, with no scientific reference.

As a lot of other environmental documentaries it points the gun in the wrong direction. At the end user. At you. Eat vegan, take short showers, drive a bike, shop local, turn of the lights, recycle you waste.

The movie establishes that big corporations are an issues, and that they govern laws and regulations. And then the movie turns to the consumer. What is key in most, if not all, environmental issues is, that we get the biggest impact, if we start at the top of the food chain (pun intended): Politics and big corporations.

Besides from cutting meat consumption, the best thing you can do, is go into politic. Get active in whatever way you can. Maybe this means setting up a petition that you sent your government. Maybe it means campaigning. Maybe it means running for office.

The point is, end of pipe is not where you change the world –it’s where you uphold the status quo, and a high comfort level.

That being said here’s a short summery of…

What Cowspiracy got right.

Yes, agriculture is a major contributor to global warming, runoffs, desertification, hypoxia, rainforest destruction, and the list goes on.

OceanDepletion_Monajensen

Ocean depletion

Yes, the world’s oceans have far passed their threshold for sustainable fishing. I was surprised that the movie did not mention the fact, that most fish caught are being used to feed other animals for meat production.

Yes, a handful of companies have a tremendous amount of power and political influence, and this should be address to a much larger degree.

Yes, adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet will do loads for the environment, and I strongly suggest you do so. Or at least just cut down on meat consumption. But read op on the production methods! Almond production has an insane amount of water usage, and contributes to Colony Collapse Disorder, because of the heavy usages of neonicotinoids, pesticides, where bees die in millions.

I know, it’s a complicated world, and there’s much to think about. But if you really want to do something, if you really want to point that gun, then point it in the right direction. Get political.