I’ve been thinking for a while what we do when Copenhagen fails. And then I waited to see if it actually did. And it did, so no surprise there. But no points for calling it correctly, either.
I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to get involved in, and here’s my criteria:
- It must amplify the effect of the individual. The classic format for this is “for every 10p you give, we’ll give 50p”, but that’s a little unimaginative, (also also makes the organisation which gives the extra look self-serving and shallow).
It must give the individual leverage they are unaccustomed to. TheyWorkForYou.com do this excellently, and it is probably most people’s first experience fo writing to their MP.
- It must seek action, not ideas. Everything’s already been said, we just need more people to do it. In many ways I think we should just burn cars in London. It’s simple, relatively safe, but it looks great on TV and it really works for the French, when they want to keep getting farm subsidies. Ideally they’d be really expensive inefficient cars so that powerful people get pissed off.
- It must appeal to selfish motives, to wit: money, pride, sex. Because if we get the same 1 or 2 million people who give a damn signing petitions again and again we’re still screwed. The message needs to get to people who DON’T care. And if they don’t and won’t care (possibly for seemingly rational reasons, like ‘I’m a single mum and don’t have time’ etc) we have to make the debate about something they DO care about.
And I reckon money, pride, and sex are the base motives we’ve been encultured to respond to. So eg a tshirt with “Sexy girls ride bikes.” or investing in green stocks, or pointing out that Johnny Foreigner pays less for his energy because it’s from renewable sources.
Following on from (3) and (1) there are two areas which are going to have the most effect: How we spend money, and how we make money.