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


Saturday 30 October 2010

Biodiversity Barometer -

On the occasion of the CBD COP 10, the Union for Ethical BioTrade commissioned an extension of its Biodiversity Barometer to Japan and Korea. Through consumer surveys, UEBT tracks consumer awareness and understanding of biodiversity and their purchasing behaviors. The new surveys of Japanese and South Korean consumers also claim to confirm the growing importance that consumers attach to biodiversity across the world. The reports consist of two pages. The website provides no access to the original research or methodology... The survey was sponsored by a Korean cosmetic firm and carried out by a global market research company: its website does not mention any biodiversity barometer... Greenwash or clumsy communication?

Friday 29 October 2010

Lionfish PSA

Fun as basis to effectively communicate invasive species. To learn more visit the website. A Randy Olsen film. See also the interview in the NYT.

SOS - Save Our Species - join now!

Save our species. Not a very effective advertizement for a website. And food for thought from the perspective of branding biodiversity: Love. Not Loss! Food for tought also from the perspective of strategic communication: who is the audience and what KAP change is intended? See also the brochure.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Science, disinformation and ethics

"Environmental scepticism is an elite-driven reaction to global environmentalism, organised by core actors within the conservative movement." A recent study from the University of Central Florida shows that over 92 per cent of environmentally sceptical publications are linked to conservative think tanks, and 90 per cent of conservative think tanks interested in environmental issues espouse scepticism. This scepticism is a key tactic to undermine the environmental movement’s efforts to legitimise its claims via science. The sceptics are not unbiased analysts of science who expose the myths and scare messages of the environmentalists, whom they label as practitioners of ‘junk science’. They are not - as they claim - marginal voices who battle like ‘Davids’ against the powerful ‘Goliath’ of the environmental scientists. These sceptics are supported by politically powerful think tanks funded by wealthy foundations and corporations. In another recent publication of Penn State University Donald Brown asks himself whether the disinformation of sceptics can be labeled as a new kind of crime against humanity. Given the results of the climate change and biodiversity negotiations one could at least say that the communication tactics of the sceptics to influence decision makers and the public seem to work better than the communication strategy of the environmentalists.

Monday 25 October 2010

The positioning of communications

In governments, international organizations or NGOs the function of communications is sometimes directed by the Head of the Information Unit. Sometimes it is directed by the Policy or Management Team. The choice where to position the communications function in an organization depends on the vision one has on the role of communications. On a continuum one can formulate many visions. For reasons of clarity I just describe two extremes on such continuum.
If one sees communications only as an instrument to facilitate and clarify operational information to external audiences (especially mass media) one positions the communications function in an Information Unit. And the press officers in this unit are basically directed by the Unit Head.
If one sees communication as a strategic policy instrument to influence knowledge, attitudes and behavior of specific target groups, generating trust and support and engaging audiences in public participation, then communications is often directed by top management and positioned directly under the highest decision making level. And the various communications experts of the unit (varying from media experts, to facilitators of stakeholder dialogues and social marketers) also are the ‘ears’ for top management: they bring into the policy making process the actual attitudes, gossip, prejudices and motivations of the audiences for whom policies are developed.

Sunday 24 October 2010

Action triggers attitude change

Often we think that behaviour change is based on a sequence of changes in knowledge and attitude. In reality change is not based on such linear process. I realized that when I was invited in the biodiversity fair in Nagoya to cut my own chop sticks out of bamboo. It was not easy. It was very helpful that a skilled Japanese old lady was demonstrating me the basics. It was also fun to try. I never had thought that practicing sustainable use, would reenforce so positively my attitude towards sustainability.