I’ve got to hand it to Alex, one of our web designers. When we suggested he pose with an eight-foot polar bear for our agency’s online environmental policy, he happily embraced the idea: all 5′ 8″ of him.
(This is tame compared to some of the web requests we feed him.)
We’re serious about lessening our impact. That’s why we gravitate to humor when we talk about it. Because when a person can smile about sustainability, then ways to save the planet become much more approachable. Even the plight of polar bears.
So lighten up and stop mauling mother nature, and she’ll stop mauling you.
What kind of statement are you making?
at 3:46 pm
One problem with this approach is if your customers really believe polar bears are becoming extinct because someone drove a truck over the mountains to visit grandma or go bird hunting.
You might not be aware of this, Park, but to many people global warming, green building, sustainability, etc. is a serious religion, and one doesn’t need to look far to see what can happen when someone jokes about another’s religion.
Polar bears have become an icon to both sides, with very opposite meanings.
Be careful. Be very careful…
at 8:09 am
Thanks for your comment/warning, Pat. I’ve given it much thought, and I think I need to clarify my position on our approach to sustainability. You see, I’m not concerned with offending the radical right or left of the environmental issue. I don’t feel that real change is going happen on the fringes. It’s the bell curve of the masses – the centrist folks for lack of a better characterization – is where I think real change will occur.
What I’ve learned is that these hundreds of millions of people in the middle don’t buy into the hysteria of the radical environmentalists, and they’re puzzled by the eco-nonchalance of the far right. They are comfortable with making convenient, affordable and healthy choices and behavior changes to help sustain themselves, their families, communities, and as a bi-product, the planet.
We’ve found imaging like Alex hand-in-hand with a polar bear is approachable because it disarms the issue, and is an entertaining way to connect, backed up with real education. We learned how effective this approach is with our Water – Use It Wisely campaign, which is universally accepted because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but provides an ocean of conservation information that anyone can use.
Regarding our environmental policy, it’s precisely because the polar bear has become an icon for both sides that makes this communication all that more powerful.
And relative to being careful, I’ve never achieved anything of substance pursuing that path.
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Pat. I hope this offers a better insight as to where we’re coming from and where we’re headed.
at 5:19 pm
I find your explanation encouraging, Park.
Not to many months or years ago, most (my opinion) people & company’s that pushed sustainability couched their positions with the promise they would change the weather, or they saw big bucks by jumping on the band wagon.
I’ve always promoted a more moderate angle on sustainability, with the promise of simply being good stewards of Mother Earth. Glad to hear Park & Co. resides in this middle.
Still think the polar bear is a divisive icon.
Now, about saving water with teenage daughters ….
at 4:00 pm
Turn the thermostat down on your water heater and you’ll end up with a couple pubescent polar bears.