Sign posts for weeds ... anyone?
We greenies are changing the ways we draw attention to our causes. And why not. This really is a must.
Some of my readers may know I have a blog http://bloomingandbold.blogspot.com.au/. I wrote a post today, that I stumbled on this campaign media alert in Tasmania by Tamar NRM - Natural Resource Management where the campaign aim is to make weeds sexy. This is in my view quite apt, as in our busy lives, in order to get our attention, we need to be drawn in by something a little different, something that excites or intrigues us - it's common garden, psychology, that we cannot afford to bore our audience.
Well, as one travels about suburban Melbourne, one sees a lot of weeds which really need to be handled by people who 'mean business'. The lack of communication on weeds is a grandiose problem. But it's not just a lack of knowledge and information. The problem is that weeds are not in themselves inherently interesting to most people. So we have to make people want to find out which plants are invasive, and to take the time to eliminate plants which are a menace to the local ecosystems.
It occurred to me that these weeds need to be 'jollied up' in some way. There could be glow in the dark pegs or streamers attached to these weeds (ones that either get removed or biodegrade over time!) with comments saying 'cut me ... my seeds turn in to weeds' which would alert people in cities to their weedy status. The name for the campaign could be Code Name - 'Little Weed' with different pegs or markings to denote different weed types. The name is a tad inspired by the character in the Flower Pot Men children's show for those who remember the show. Well, there was something very memorable and adorable about that character 'little weed' and that was the sweet way she spoke.
In our green campaigns we have a tendency to mark out the territory as something repugnant or morbid which turns people off, and ironically we as campaigners need to make the objects of our eradication campaigns likeable, cute, sexy or at least memorable to draw attention to them. Clearly, this is something Tamar NRM are acutely aware of. Let's be on the look-out for ways to cheer up our subject-matter, in this case, how to make weeds memorable! With Code Name Little Weed we'll have to keep the 'little' in there so it's obvious we're not talking about the cannabis (weed) variety.
How we communicate our green messages is really what this blog and website is all about.
The question on our lips is : how inventive can our green messages be.
Now I always like to make the point that telling a story can work more effectively than some of the more preachey styles environmentalists use. Instead of couching our green message in an article using a more moralistic tone and saying for example, ... we should be doing x or y, we can use a different style ... we did x and it was game-changing.
Indeed the message behind this website is that we can aim for a change of heart, and take a rest from the primary aim of environmentalists bringing about a change of mind in our audience.
A change of heart can come about by anything really inspirational or captivating, by the use of humour (and making sustainability fun), and the drawing out of empathy in our audience. Mirror neurons are aroused by the feel good factor, 'I want to be like that person', when we use common tools employed in the marketing world. Marketing doesn't need to be 'anathema' to green groups. We can be much more instinctive and intuitive about the type of green message we use.
Eco role-modelling and the telling of stories to inspire a change of heart are well-recognised tools in the behaviour change field nowadays. Here's an example of a wonderful video that inspires interest in the campaign subject matter as well as making the audience feel good.
Junior hump back whale gets saved from fishing net and literally does a dance of joy afterwards
These themes are explored throughout this blog, and in my book: Green Spin (Or) Promoting the Green Message
Fun holiday pics
Contributors to Converse Conserve.Com
Nicolle K., Peter Nesbit, (cartoonist) Chris Palmer (film-maker), Jackie Eco (comedienne),
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