Environmentalists – Message is confused

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One of the keys to ongoing effective public relations is to “stay on message.” Savvy organizations wisely invest in getting the message right and getting internal buy-in from stakeholders prior to putting it out over the megaphone of media. These same savvy organizations keep stating the same message over and over long after executives tire of the exercise.  This proven formula maximizes the chance that the message will get to “the end of the row” and will begin to influence target public perception and behavior.

For decades, environmentalists have consistently raised the war cry promoting renewable energy resources. True, some extremists have given the well intentioned movement a bad name by distasteful methods. However, raising the consistent cry for more sustainable solutions has resulted in better public understanding of the problems and the solutions needed. Investors, on the other hand, have lagged in adoption of renewable energy in part because the cost/benefit analysis didn’t work out. Clean energy just didn’t make sense on an income statement.

Fast forward to 2009. Investors are giving thumbs up to major clean energy projects because the numbers finally make sense. Not only can People and Planet be served, but also Profit.  The challenge is now that extreme environmentalists have flip-flopped on their message. Now, renewable energy isn’t enough. You have to implement it without ANY displacement of wildlife, without change in the view, without any loss of jobs from fossil fuel sectors, etc. Of course I’m looking at the extreme end. But, that’s what the extreme environtmentalist are doing, too.

Fact – There is NO perfect energy source currently known to man. There is no impact free transition to a zero carbon future. There is no perfectly efficient technology that will never be improved upon. So, as is usually the case, we have to to move forward with imperfect knowledge with the best technology know NOW, not at some future Utopian time. We have problems now that are severe and far more dangerous than some of the extreme demands environmentalists are now pushing for.

The result here is that extreme environmentalist are now fractured in messaging. They are offending reasonable people that don’t want a major highway project derailed because of a single falcon bird nest. They may lose confidence in those fighting solar projects because we have to drive over a lizard to remote desert locations to install the panels.  Most people will not buy in to extreme demands for a minimalist future without technology, with everyone powering their own home with bicycle generators.

Surely, extreme environmentalists are their own worst enemies when it comes to communicating a cohesive message that benefits People, Planet, and Profits – the triple bottom line of sustainability and green for the U.S. and the world.

What do you think?

About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.

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