Last month the World Wildlife Fund celebrated their 50th anniversary and were nice enough to let me crash the festivities with this talk. My basic message is that the climate movement has done an impressive job with the CEREBRAL part of communication. Now they need to shore up the VISCERAL side.



Filmed at National Geographic’s headquarters — they did a really nice job.



The overall message of this talk is relatively simple. The American climate movement has done an impressive job with the cerebral side of communication, producing mountains of polling data, values models, mental models, classification and description of climate skeptics — all sorts of METRICS. But that’s only half of the communication picture — the cerebral/informational half.

As I say in this talk, there’s the other half — the more visceral component — the more experiential stuff. The divide is as simple as the difference between buying a book on acting versus taking an acting class where you actually have to act.

So I thought I was going to be the big rabble rouser of the day with my talk, but little did I know how blunt and incisive Martin Palmer’s talk would be. Which was nice. My message was mild by comparison. His talk (see video below) is truly amazing. I had heard a podcast from him in 2009 for which I sent him a fan email raving about how great it was. But I had totally forgotten about him until he began his talk and I started hearing some of the same things from that podcast, causing me to sit up and look around like, “wait a minute, this is that awesome guy!”

The talks might have benefited for the web by being only 10 minutes, plus I say “um” an awful lot (terrible to have to watch yourself giving a talk), but the talk presents pretty much the main things I have to say these days. Something has to change with climate communication. They have to realize they’re only addressing half of what communication is about. As a friend said to me last weekend, it doesn’t work to just buy a video about surfing. If you want to surf, you have to get out there and DO IT!



I’m ready to start the Martin Palmer Fan Club based on this talk. His organization clearly understands major parts of human nature that the climate movement doesn’t.