Students take part in a global protest against climate change in Cape Town, South Africa

We are facing what might be the greatest threat ever to the future of mankind.

It took a very long time for people to take to the streets to protest against slow inaction on this matter.

Until thus far, the outrage has largely been intellectual and slow action. [If you want to argue about the science, please visit the link above, this is a post about the marketing!]

Yesterday we held TEDxJohannesburgSalon with the theme Green Transition. Various speakers from different professions, and backgrounds were sharing ideas on this sustainability.

But even after all the talks and ideas, some delegates were still arguing the seriousness of this problem.

Is the lack of outrage because of the population’s decision that climate change is bad science, or conspiracy theories by scientists who want to be benefit from this issue?

Actually, the vast majority of the population has not even thought about the issue.

The muted reaction to our impending disaster I think comes down to two things:

1. The name.

Global is good.

Warm is good.

Even greenhouses are good places.

Green symbolises nature, and nature is good.

House, well there is no place like home.

How can “global warming” be bad?

I’m not being facetious. If the problem were called “Atmosphere cancer” or “Pollution death” the entire conversation would be framed in a different way.

2. The pace and the images.

One degree every few years does not make good TV. Because activists have been unable to tell their story with vivid images about immediate actions, it is just human nature to avoid the issue.

Why give up something we enjoy now to make an infinitesimal change in something that is going to happen far in the future?

Because you don’t see your coal being burned [it accounts for more than 77% of SA electricity] and because the stuff coming out of your car is invisible, and because you do not live near a coal mine, it is all invisible.

It does not matter what you market. Human beings want:

  • Totems and icons;
  • Meters [put a real-time mpg or co2 meter in every car and watch what happens];
  • Fashion;
  • Stories; and
  • Pictures.

95% of the new ideas that don’t spread, even though their founders and fans believe they should, fail because of the list above.

The Strike

Starting from today, youth from 150 countries have been striking all over the world to ask their elected representative to show more urgency in fighting the climate crisis.

We are beginning to see Icons emerging such as teen activists, Greta Thunberg and millions of other schools kids who go on strike every Friday on this matter.

We are beginning to see Fashion in the form of Tesla Cars, the amazing Disney Solar Farm in Florida and amazing Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark.
We have a measure, to keep global warming below 2°C.
We are beginning to see pictures, horrific pictures such as the Mozambique’s Cyclone Idai.
We are beginning to hear stories, TEDxJohannesburgSalon on Green Transition and many other conferences have recorded these stories.
Our response to climate change is almost certainly going to be one of the defining stories of our time.
I love that the youth, the generation that is most going to be affected is taking the lead in driving awareness and urgency around this problem.
For today going forward, I hope you take the time to follow their lead and join a strike near you.

If you are not into marches, then organize a walk, be part of a walk on raising awareness in expediting action on climate change.

Or, spend time outdoors with a few colleagues and friends to savor the awesomeness that is our planet and commit to making a change or two that will help reduce your carbon footprint.

It matters.

In time, we might realise that it was among the only things that did.

The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones. It ended because we moved on to better solutions. We do not need to wait for coal and oil to run out to end the age of fossil fuels.


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