How We Deal With Global Warming Skeptics While Pushing Our Conservation Agenda

global warming

One group of people who make our environmental conservation work difficult is that of the global warming skeptics. As you may have read elsewhere in this blog, our work revolves around trying to achieve a target of 40% reduction in greenhouses gases emissions by the year 2020. That is meant, in turn, to reduce global warming. But then, global warming skepticism tends to come up early on in most of the conversations that we have with the people who matter in the society. We thus finding ourselves having to deal with global warming skeptics frequently, while pushing our conservation agenda.

In my experience, what works best when dealing with global warming skeptics is to (genuinely) try to understand their points of view. Then having done so, we try to sell our point of view to them as well, with a disclaimer that they don’t have to accept it: they just have to understand it and take it into consideration. This approach has so far seemed to work well, at least in terms of getting the conversations with the global warming skeptics going.

Thus, in dealing with global warming skeptics, we try to avoid the major mistake that other conservationists make: where they become defensive, and try to portray the global warming skeptics as people who have ‘lost it’. Our approach is different, and we also try to get the global warming skeptics to support our conservation efforts, even if they don’t believe in global warming. That is after getting them to appreciate that even in the absence of the danger of global warming, there is nonetheless the danger of degrading our environment completely. Thus, the things we advocate for, like using more environment-friendly energy sources, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and so on are sensible measures (given where we are environment-wise) — and even in the absence of the danger of global warming.

Our Strategy for Getting the Business Community to Support Our Conservation Agenda

recycle

As people who are involved in environmental conservation work, we have come to realize that we need to secure the support of the business community, if we are to be successful in pushing our agenda. But, as experience has shown elsewhere, it is not easy to get the business community to support this sort of (conservation) agenda.  You see, the measures that need to be put in place, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are often painful to businesses. These are measures that can ultimately have the impact of reducing business profitability and increasing business costs. These are, therefore (and obviously) not the sorts of measures that members of the business community embrace willingly. So we have had to come up with a strategy for getting the business community to support our conservation agenda.

Our strategy for getting the business community to support our conservation agenda is simple. It is a strategy where we tell the members of the business community that we will patronize their businesses (and encourage others who are within our spheres of influence to patronize their businesses), if they accept to support our conservation agenda. We also subtly tell the members of the business community that we will boycott their businesses, and encourage others who are within our spheres of influence to boycott the businesses, if they fail to support our conservation agenda. In doing this, we don’t believe that we are blackmailing the businesses, but rather, just applying pressure to them subtly.

So far, the strategy we have employed for getting the business community to support our conservation agenda has seemed to work well. We have seen members of the business community approaching us with elaborate plans on how they intend to reduce greenhouse emissions within the next five years. Of course, the real hour of reckoning is coming: when we shall get to see whether or not the businesses actually implement the elaborate greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans they have presented to us. The whole thing is akin to the application process for Capital One credit cards at application.capitalone.com: where what matters most is ultimately whether the person wishing to get a credit card actually fills in and submits the application form or not. In our case, what matters is not whether a particular business comes up with a greenhouse gas reduction plan, but whether the business entity actually implements the plan.

Build a Smarter Canberra

Our launch of Build a Smarter Canberra was historic. It is the first time that all of the ACT environment groups working on climate change have come together and prepared a joint position to put forward to the community and to our political leaders.

This strategy calls for actions from our political leaders to ensure we have in place the measure and processes to take us to delivery of our 40% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2020.