Getting to “I can…”

We’ve had some very good discussions today around some up-coming campaign planning. One of the things that we’re talking about is changing perceptions from “it’s all too big/hard” to “I can do something”.

I extracted a list of things that I think we need to keep in mind when developing our strategies for our non-political campaigning (that is, campaigns not focussed on politicians directly).

  • Make it personal
    We need to make the issues relevant to the individual before they will enact change in their lifestyle/habits. For longer-term issues this may mean making it relevant to them in the context of their children or grandchildren – but the effect is to bring a realisation to “now” of something that will likely happen in the future.
  • Make it visible
    We need to work out ways to make the invisible visible. To make energy/water use something that we can see, for example. We need to make visible both the damage of our current habits and how much of an impact changes, even small ones, can make.
  • Make it actionable
    Work out real, concrete steps that people can take to make that difference. Purchasing recycled paper, switching to clean energy, buying a hybrid, turning out unused lights. Tangible actions that people can take and see visible improvements.

The aim is to move the theoretical “too-big” problems into the personal, and to give people a sense that what they do will and does make a difference, positive or negative. A potential side-effect is then people will start to ask their government representatives and employers what they are doing, effecting change on a wider scale.

Very interesting and inspiring stuff.

  • Grant,

    I love your analysis and think you are exactly right. I have also come to similar conclusions, and implemented these ideas in my activist website at this website (also linked in my name below)

    But, I’m finding that it’s not gaining traction fast enough. Any idea what more can be done? I can’t even get people to leave a name in the Guestbook much less do somehing. Even though 200 million lives including mine are on the line. What can be done to break the inaction?

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