March 10th, 2011
It’s so boring. I’m sorry. I’m just going to keep on saying this. It’s the 500 pound gorilla nobody wants to talk about. Everyone would rather get together at their environmental film festivals and coo over the latest majestic environmental home movies about climate change than admit it’s a deadly boring subject. Why is this on my mind? I heard another data point this week to add to the pile.
What if “THE END OF THE WORLD” was too boring for anyone to take an interest in it?
This week I attended a panel discussion on the broad communication of climate change. Nice people, all admiring each other’s work. Great intentions. Much sense of urgency. “We MUST do something!”‘s all around. But nobody talked about the real crisis — how boring the topic of climate change is.
In contrast, I spoke on Monday at the USGS Pacific Climate Conference in Monterey, which was an excellent experience. Lots of great scientists there who are fired up about communicating this stuff. But a local friend mentioned something VERY distressing. The Monterey Bay Aquarium did a huge, expensive, and well-crafted exhibit on climate change, but nobody showed up. Visitors have been avoiding it like … the plague? The creators have been disappointed to see it’s not a very popular exhibit. Welcome to the real world.
I’m tellin’ ya, this is the story that matters — not all the amazing things people are doing around the planet, one by one, but how are you gonna make this stuff interesting to the non-fascinated public? Who wants to hear the bad news that we’re all gonna die, then the supposed solutions of counting carbon emissions and recycling? The message is inherently boring. This goes beyond Marshall McLuhan. The message IS the message if it’s this boring. I don’t have the answers, but I know where they lie — with experimentation. Something that doesn’t happen in the world of science and environmental communication.