D23: Denial . . . continued

Confronting self-denial is a central aspect to self-help methods used in addiction programs. George Marshall’s book “Carbon Detox” uses this approach for his book on 'green' language.
And when it comes to solutions I argue that we set ourselves up for failure [if we are] taking personal action out of guilt in the face of a huge global problem. Instead I suggest something deeper and harder – re-writing the story we tell ourselves about who we are. So forget about ‘saving the planet’, the reason for going through the ‘detox’ and living a lighter carbon life is because you are smart, honest and want to live in the present.

Oh, I like that. I want to be smart and honest and live in the present. I like that far better than feeling badly that I have been a sound asleep, when not greedy, privileged shit. (/snark)

Ethical living - Smart Living - Safe Living’: how to target environmental communications

Pat Dade, of Cultural Dynamics, and colleagues, have been using a very rigorous (nationally validated) model of adult values development rooted originally in humanistic/transpersonal psychology pioneer Abraham Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ to understand what has really been happening to people’s values (or ‘Values Modes’, as they dub them) within the green movement and beyond. And, importantly, they explain how to deliver green messages that will actually hit home with diverse audiences and encourage new environmental friendly behaviours. [snip]

Naturally many people might be a mix of all three or may adopt different roles in different company or circumstances, or at different times of life, but usually one of the types is recurringly dominant and is a strong determinant of response and behaviour. In a rather horribly impersonal marketing sort of way, we can therefore divide people very crudely, and with a necessary degree of fluidity, into three sets.

Inner-directed Pioneers are strongly motivated by ethical concerns and stimulated by new ideas and ways of doing things. When becoming aware of a problem, the action mode of inner-directeds is DIY: they are the activists and they most naturally accept campaigning messages. Inner-directeds start things, including social trends, and start change. Most of them have either already gone green or are contemplating it. Inner-directeds are likely to soak up ‘green language’ and eco-paraphernalia and be stimulated by it. Most people reading this report are probably Pioneers.

The dominant motivation of outer-directed Prospectors, on the other hand, is status and the esteem of others. [snip] They are more likely to ask “What’s in it for me?” or “How will that make me look good or be more successful?” There is a danger that outer-directeds will dismiss environmental or ethical campaigns as do-gooding and they are less likely to resonate with green language than inner-directeds. [Snip]

Settlers are also more likely to feel uncomfortable with language that implies challenging authority or traditional values, such as pressure group, campaign or demo, and find other green language that implies instability or threat unsettling. There is a high risk that messages using Pioneer-style approaches might be blocked or dismissed.

This framework might yield more success than running a campaign that pretends everyone thinks and acts in the same way. It’s naturally more work for us because it means segmenting out our audiences and addressing them separately but then changing behaviour is about the hardest thing to achieve and needs complex approaches.

Well, I suspect my approach wouldn’t appeal much to a ‘Settler’ because my communication style is fucking ‘unsettling’ and anarchy often feels like a superior solution to me. That may be overstating it, but this country’s ‘center’ has gone so unquestioningly far right I often feel like an incredibly radical old broad. Add to this conundrum the whole generation coming up who simply have no information about anything prior to this administration. That is a problem outside the theme for today of denial. That is a whole population of young who aren’t denying facts; they aren’t being given many facts at all on television, in the news, movies, papers, churches or at a kitchen tables. Maybe this is a post unto itself.

To return to the Settler in the above scenario, I want to acknowledge the 21-24% of people who will never, ever be dissuaded that Chucklenuts isn’t doing a great job, that Saddam was involved in bombing the World Trade Towers, that people are not responsible for the Climate Crisis and the Democrats caused the budget deficit. Despite voting against their best interests, this percentage are simply never going to be people who I will have dialog. There is nothing for me to say to them.

Now the outer-directed 'Prospectors' gang are not my peeps. This is a group I don’t have entrée to due to being too old, too poor, too unattractive, too serious, too female and too critical of white privledge. I know this crew and it is greed v green all the way. Harrumph. They are worth trying to sway, but probably not by me.

So, my self-involved little soul stands alone. It isn’t entirely true as I have some 'Pioneer' cred. I accidentally have had some great interactions with the 'neophyte', the 'traditional' and the ‘style’ types of communicators. In fact, the *internets* is the best place to stumble on connectivity. It is especially helpful to not be immediately dismissed for being (see above) unacceptable. For my make-a-(green)plan blog, I will not deny I tend to preach to the choir. But, our choir still needs a whole hell of a lot of work and support. I enjoy bolstering my compatriots along the way. It is important to me to acknowledge that my strengths are not to be a direct facilitator to the unconvinced. But, I will pay attention to my team, the ones more than willing to face his or her self-denial, attempt self-disclosure and move forward.

I am glad that there are those I read (check out my blogroll) who are stellar in building bridges to the sustainable world concepts and practices. Colin at NIM has a running dialog with someone I wouldn’t have even engaged in a conversation. Susan at StepWise is completely involved in community workshops on communication and gives great resources. There are so many reaching out. You will find authors and community leaders within that list. Plenty of room within this movement for all kinds of people, nationalities, beliefs, approaches and communications, I say. The only requirement is that we can’t pretend it isn’t happening.