Changing the message

Change isn’t impossible, according to No Impact Man

Slowly but surely we convinced ourselves that new was better than old. It became ok to throw things out. It became ok to waste. In fact, out with the old and in with the new kept the economic wheels turning. Buying became downright patriotic.

The result of this old messaging is that, now, everybody wants the newest iPod, the biggest SUV, a huge vacation. And no one is going to give these things up voluntarily, right? Wrong.

[…] our consumption arose because of newly-learned social norms and values.

[…] For many years, in this country, smoking was trendy. Now it’s not. The message changed. When I was young, people threw their wrappers on the New York streets without a thought. Now people sneer if you drop your trash. The message changed.

Why wouldn’t the same be true of our use of planetary resources? For many years, as a culture, we thought it was great to get more and use more, and that was the message.

People argue that changing course is impossible. You can’t, they say, change human nature. But we don’t have to change human nature.

All we have to do is change the message.

I’d only add that it may also be about changing assumptions about communication and the way messages are delivered, e.g. through quality conversation and storytelling.

Incidentally, there’s an amazing (true) story about somone who managed to clock up 2.5 million miles in his forty year old Volvo – talk about valuing what one’s got (via Treehugger).

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One Response to “Changing the message”

  1. Changing the message II « Sumptuous World Says:

    […] the message II Having posted yesterday about No Impact Man’s excellent thoughts, here’s his follow up in the form of an advert […]

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