Saturday, May 25, 2013

3 Mile Air Island

"Save the planet" is imprecise framing, blurry optics, tired memesmanship, overall bad marketing.

I have posted about this here before, and most recently, to the gentle sound of crickets at Daily Kos.

Why talk about saving the mountain, when our little mountain cabin is what's on fire? For emphasis, let's imagine that we live in a desert mountain cabin without surrounding trees or grass.
One of two readers kind enough to comment asked the perfect question.

What is your preferred slogan then? I think save the planet / Endangered planet etc., works pretty well.
This excerpted reply is the best summary, that I've been able to make about the problem with "the planet."
Using "the planet" to describe where we live creates the mental image of a very large mass in space that we do not have the power to destroy, even if wanted to try and use our all nuclear weapons to do so.

That unconscious imagery of massiveness and indestructibility is in direct conflict with any attached messaging of "fragile" or endangered".

What we do have the power to destroy or severely damage is the biosphere, which is very thin and delicate.

Terms like "3 miles of breathable air" or "12 miles of life" are simple mental images that more precisely describe where we live and strongly suggest both very finite smallness and fragility.

These descriptions also are more accessible to persons with limited education than terms like biosphere.

Given where we stand with acceptance and action on climate change, I cannot agree that "endangered planet" or any variation on the planet/Earth meme has been terribly successful...
...using those terms creates an unconscious cognitive dissonance that prevents some people, especially those with limited education or critical evalaution skills, from visualizing our very tiny cabin on the mountain.
If anyone is aware of polling or focus groups done on words such as "planet" or "Earth" actually eliciting concern for the environment, please comment.

For that matter, please respond, if you know anything about polling on other legacy memes such as  "environment" or "green" or "eco-friendly".

We already know how some people feel about lights bulbs that help protect the environment.

Perhaps it's time to collect more evidence on how to advertise our own best interest to the average consumer of air.


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Blogger respectisthehub said...

Anyone who says that climate change isn't exactly the same as the local air pollution that smogs up the three miles of breathable air directly over many of our big cities is missing the point of everything that advertising has been trying to teach us.

Hope this post finds the reader well.

3:18 PM  

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