Where now for the environment movement? Weathercocks and signposts ten years on
Source: Common Cause Foundation
Author(s): Tom Crompton
Weathercocks and Signposts… advocated communicating and campaigning on the basis of a deep and imperative love for the natural world as one of many roots to inspiring environmental concern. But it also highlighted definite limits to the kind of arguments that we should make. It made the case that we should seek to widen public support for our aims by appealing to some reasons for expressing concern, while being careful to avoid others. This is because environmental concern is undermined through appeals to financial success, social status or public image. These are values that social psychologists call ‘extrinsic’, though I refer to them throughout this essay as ‘self-interest’ values.
Such insights lead to the uncomfortable conclusion that, in our anxiety to broaden the case for environmental action beyond a focus on deep and imperative appeals to people’s love of nature, we are at risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In pursuing a new environmental ‘pragmatism’ we may inadvertently contribute to eroding the very basis of public concern upon which we ultimately rely.
This essay brings to bear new evidence accumulated over the last decade to refresh and restate the case for a values-based approach to engaging and communicating around environmental issues. It also identifies ways to communicate and campaign differently in the hope that, working in this way, we can indeed transform and massively scale up the responses to current crises, by mobilising people through what motivates them in a deep and sustained way – their ‘compassionate’ values.
Are you familiar with this resource?
If so, please give it a rating: