January 3rd, 2013
British enviro-pundit George Monbiot starts the new year with a note of reality — that most of the world doesn’t share your environmental concerns. Furthermore, 2012 was “the worst year for the environment in memory.” He points to the “great collective shrug” at the Rio +20 Summit last June and the limpness of the climate thing in Doha. So true. Which is why “The War on Boredom” needs to be made an urgent priority for 2013. The opposite of boredom is arousal. The question to ask is, “Who will arouse the masses in 2013?”
ENVIRO WISENHEIMER. I’m a fan of George Monbiot. His essays kick ass. He does this old fashioned thing called “speaking the truth.”
PROBLEM: NOBODY CARES
A little over a year ago I ran a communications workshop with 22 environmental activists in Los Angeles which I began by telling them that nobody cares about what they care about. You may love the sight of a mountain lion in the wild enough to dedicate your life to protecting it, but statistically speaking, almost nobody else cares enough to help.
That evening we went for beers and several of them said I started the day by stunning them with that perspective. Their entire livelihood is based on the assumption that everyone cares about nature. They found it disorienting to hear that might not be true.
George Monbiot, who is the kind of dedicated activist that most people only dream of being, published a GREAT end of the year essay in The Guardian titled, “2012: the year we did our best to abandon the natural world.” I love it. I love people who are brave enough to just speak the truth, plain, flat and simple. I guess it’s the scientist in me that still values the truth.
TARGET: THE WAR ON BOREDOM
The problem, worse than ever, is this: the shit is boring. Plain and simple. That’s what produces a “collective shrug” — a complete and utter sense of boredom.
For 2013 I will be trying my best to combat the war on boredom by both “telling” and “showing.” On the “telling” front I’ll be continuing our S Team workshops with Dorie Barton and Brian Palermo. These days, they are my two communications heroes. I have more faith in them as warriors in “The War on Boredom” than anyone else. On the “showing” front I have one new movie coming out this year, and will be filming at least one, and possibly two more. They will be exercises in storytelling as a means of fighting the stench of boredom.
listen to meh
WHEN THEY’RE AROUSED THEY’RE LISTENING
Lastly, here’s my catch phrase for 2013. It’s a combination of Brian’s wonderful line about improv comedy — he says, “When they’re laughing, they’re listening” — and the basic tenet of my book of, “arouse and fulfill.” If you combine the two, (knowing that people the world over like to be aroused) what you get is that, “when they’re aroused, they’re listening.” So here’s the real question …
Who will arouse the masses in 2013?