Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Tuesday 21 December 2010

Bush meat message

‘Imagine it alive. In the Amazon Ecuadorians eat ten tons of bush meat each year’. The proposal for the pay off was: ‘Be a responsible tourist’. It does not refer explicitly to extinction, however it is a loss not a love message. We are discussing the campaign of an IUCN/TRAFFIC project in the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve aimed at small road side restaurant clientele in the Amazon region of Ecuador. They are American and European backpackers, oil company employees and middle class citizens of small cities in the region. The back packers are only 1% of the clientele. So forget about them for the moment. Ecuadorians love bush meat. That’s why the small restaurants still supply the demand. But how to communicate behavior change to the demand side? Appealing to rational weighing costs and benefits of behavior change often does not work. Better to appeal to emotions of national pride and love for the Amazon region and the people living there. And add a real action perspective: ‘don’t eat bush meat’ or 'try this time something else than bush meat'. Maybe explore whether 'solidarity' associations would stick: ‘so the tribes who depend on it, won’t go hungry’. As long as communication is not fully alligned with enforcement, we may influence attitudes and maybe the behavior of a small segment of the audience, but no big changes. Therefore it is worthwile to invest in a parallel dialogue with the police, local authorities and restaurant owners how to work together for positive change. In any case pre-test draft messages.

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