The prevailing intellectual position (with many adherents from institutes of higher education) maintains that man must use all his intellect and power to fix the damage he has done to the earth in the past. In other words, it is man’s responsibility to save the earth from human destruction. The following Guardian article articulates this view and mission well.
‘Nature is Speaking’: Will Consumers Listen?
By Greg Harman (Source – edited for size) | In a new video series from Conservation International, A-list stars such as Julia Roberts and Harrison Ford personify nature. But will these videos actually change minds?
Polar bears are passé. Saving the human species is this generation’s real challenge. At least that’s the message Conservation International is delivering in a new public awareness campaign called “Nature is Speaking.”
Seeking to inspire young people to help craft solutions to the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, the conservation nonprofit projects a startlingly indifferent message from the earth, forests, and ocean, among other elementals voiced by top Hollywood talent, in a series of visually stunning videos under the hashtag #NatureIsSpeaking.
The campaign – launched at SXSW Eco in Austin, Texas, this week – is an opportunity for individuals and companies to brag about their good works and state their ecological aspirations. It’s also a frontal attack on the residue of thousands of years of Western thought alleging human dominion over the earth as nature’s crowning species.
“Humans, they’re not different. I don’t owe them a thing,” intones a remorseless Ocean, voiced by Harrison Ford, CI’s vice chairman. “I give; they take. But I can always take back.
“Me, I could give a damn with or without humans.”
Mother Nature also minces few words. Stressing humanity’s complete dependence on her, an icy Julia Roberts states: “I have fed species greater than you and I have starved species greater than you. … I’m prepared to evolve. Are you?”
Pitiless as that message is, there is something refreshingly honest about the approach taken by Lee Clow, director of media arts for global advertising network TBWA Worldwide, who launched Apple’s brand with the riveting “1984” commercial. “We thought the idea of giving nature a voice … might make it clear to all of us that the planet will evolve with or without humans. It’s our choice,” Clow said in a prepared release.
Each segment concludes a resounding all-capped clarion call: “NATURE DOESN’T NEED PEOPLE. PEOPLE NEED NATURE.”
But will this approach resonate with viewers?
“With any campaign, even one as carefully planned as this one, you have no idea how it’s going to work,” M Sanjayan, CI’s senior scientist and frequent TV news personality, told the Guardian. But a trial at the Social Good Summit in New York City during Climate Week on 22 September saw the hashtag start to trend globally.
Sanjayan takes heart in the combination of A-list stars, social-media agreements with major companies such as Coca-Cola, Walmart and Virgin Airlines, and a decision to target younger media outlets, including MTV and Vice Media.
He doesn’t expect it to be embraced across the board. “We are going to get some flak, without a doubt,” Sanjayan said. “Not everyone’s going to like this. It’s not happy talk. The ocean is angry, Edward Norton is edgy, [Kevin] Spacy drips with sarcasm. You can feel that.”
Among the optimistically skeptical is Connie Roser-Renouf, associate research professor at George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication. She worries that the clips – which don’t address directly what people can do to make a difference – may stir a sense of helplessness among those already concerned about climate change. Meanwhile, those in denial have historically been very hard to reach.
Of course, millennials have grown up swaddled in the message of catastrophe. The shadows of Al Gore’s intimidating film An Inconvenient Truth and packs of stranded polar bears have stalked their psyches most of their lives. Yet as the scientific evidence of climate change has tightened, public concern in the industry-induced crisis has remained static or faltered.
Decades of international frittering has failed to tackle what many are calling the greatest challenge of the generation. Marked most obviously by the United States’ refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, this inability to drive policy has forced environmentalists, regulators and researchers to revise their talking points.
To help the Nature is Speaking effort go viral, CI has lined up a to-be-announced roster of celebrities to deliver even more video messages. It has even recruited aging grunge rockers Pearl Jam for the cause. The band has agreed to screen the films prior to one of their concerts (and sport campaign T-shirts) at the Austin City Limits music festival this month, said Nick Mitsis, director of media relations for Conservation International.
The rest of this course experience will give alternative options to the mainline answers currently being offered on questions of caring for our environment.