To affect change you have to believe in it
As an agency dedicated to bringing about social change, we know too well that you have to show people that change is actually possible if you want them to act more positively. Whether it is getting people cycling, being safer in their homes or even raising professional standards (see our case studies), you have to show what the benefits will be and how they can take actions to get there. But fundamentally you have to show that the end goal is not just aspirational but achievable.
At a panel debate on climate change at the RSA recently, an incredibly distinguished panel – that included Sir Nicholas Stern, Chris Rapley, Jenny Jones and Jeremy Leggett – looked at the range of approaches that are needed to address climate change. The event explored what the RSA describes as the ‘seven dimensions of climate change’ – science, law, economy, technology, democracy, behaviour and culture. All of these need to be developed if we are to meet the huge challenge, but for me the last point – culture – most resonated.
The audience was asked if they felt we could beat the threat of climate change and only a third raised their hands. Little optimism, even amongst an audience already attuned to the issues. We have a cultural belief we will lose, which will ultimately inform our approach. The point was made that unless we believe we can beat this then we have little hope. We need to all get behind it; we need a cultural belief we can win. And then we will.
See an extended version of this blog on Huffington Post here.