This week one of my clients asked if we could help them organise something to help them ‘make carbon more relevant’ as, although they are enjoying a lot of interest in what they do, which is a carbon–offset labelling service, they have been noticing an underlying comment from a lot of their customers that ‘Too many people out there just don’t get it.’
That’s an interesting thought.
Although Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth is still seen as the Bible of the Low-Carbon industry, well over half the population in the first world, and a far greater proportion outside it, just don’t seem to be taking the issues that seriously.
To illustrate that point – my own local community is amazingly apathetic to proposals to dump millions of tons of waste in a disused brickworks less than a mile from the local school over the next thirty years.
The chairman of the Laybrook Action Group, who works tirelessly to prevent it going forward, cites many reasons why it shouldn’t be there. But none of them are proven science, or hard fact, so it’s easier for the local population to accept instead the assurances of the developers and local government authorities that all will be well.
What does that say about the effectiveness of the Carbon movement at persuading the wider public not just of the benefits of its case, but its importance for the planet?
There can be few less attractive, environmentally damaging, carbon-wasting and anti-social activities in your backyard than a general waste landfill, yet our local community is lying supine and unaware of the implications for their health and the local environment, yet alone the planet as a whole.
And this is the Carbon Conundrum. There is some science which suggests that the rate of climate change has been accelerated by man’s activities, but that is not unequivocal – there is enough counter-argument to spread doubt among the un-informed
As one friend pointed out over dinner last night the planet’s climate is quite changeable without any intervention on our part – just 20,000 years ago, a second in geological terms, the place where I am writing this today was covered by hundreds of metres of ice, and no-one’s history books show cavemen driving around in cars.
The industry needs to market itself a lot more effectively to catch the public consciousness, or like my local brickworks, could turn from a thriving business to being buried under a pile of landfill.