Simple ideas are sometimes the best when it comes to making ordinary people care about issues.

Brook Bond Tea bag cards

Recently I have been reading about the growth of the environmental movement after the 2nd World War and how ordinary British people began to care.

What struck me was how much public and government bodies were on board and played a part in winning hearts and minds and how much more these same organisations could be doing now to raise awareness about the climate crisis and other ills threatening life on earth.

Back in the fifties and sixties the Post Office produced stamps about animals in danger. Government Bodies ran educational programmes in schools and commercial companies ran promotions which raised people’s awareness of the natural world. Even local vicars got in on the craze, running a series of Wildlife Sundays where they delivered sermons on environmental issues.

Why doesn’t this happen now? True the BBC still champions nature as it has always done but surely more could be done by other organisations to imbed concern about the climate emergency and what ordinary people can do to limit the damage. Stamps on wildlife being extinguished in the fires in Australia. Stamps on recycling your litter and buying less plastic. Those little Brook Bond Tea bag cards I so loved to collect as a child could be revitalised and collected. McDonalds could stop giving kids plastic junk and give them booklets which they could get stamped each time they did something positive for the environment and collect a reusable lunch box at the end.

I know we are in the world of Social Media but on social media you have to search for these issues and you only do that if you care in the first place. Why can’t we put them right under people’s noses?

Why isn’t the government putting climate change at the top of every curriculum? Why does the media so often portray environmental campaigners as cranks and weirdos? The message that things need to change has to be at the heart of everything we do. Not in a, “we’re all doomed, give up now,” way but in a, “support the marchers and say no to plastic kind of way.”

Not everyone wants to glue themselves to the top of a tube train and sometimes this action can alienate ordinary people who are just trying to get to work but there is a place for less radical environmentalists to work with the establishment to get the message out there to every breakfast table in Britain.

6 thoughts on “Simple ideas are sometimes the best when it comes to making ordinary people care about issues.

    • I think we need ideas that appeal to all sections of society and a lot of the current ideas coming from Extinction Rebellion are valid but just too scary and unpractical for people who can’t risk losing jobs. We need to reach out to all sections of society and sometimes the smallest messages can make a difference to the way people think about the big issues.

      • I absolutely agree with this. Where I live you wouldn’t know anyone even knew about climate change. There are lots of things I would like to do to change my usage but they are way out of my price bracket and I am sure that applies to many people I meet in day to day life. And the ‘aggressive’ tactics used to make us more aware actually makes consumers switch off if they are constantly being told how bad everything they do is for the planet. It doesn’t win people over. There are lots of small things we can all do that can be promoted to those who do care but don’t have disposable income, and create awareness for those that don’t care and need a gentle prod in the right direction, but I don’t see any of that happening at ‘working people level’. For me, many of the things I have done to be more environmentally friendly have come with a money saving positive which I am sure would inspire many people. It certainly inspired me! The press have a lot ot answer for, there is a lot of negative portrayal of climate change activists which makes even me annoyed at them, so I can’t imagine how that comes across to other people less interested in climate change than I am. I think we’re doing a lot of it wrong and causing people to dig their heels in and carry on as before. I also think we need to stop telling consumers how bad they are for the environment and target the big companies that allow poor consumer choices to happen in the first place. Whilst I am not happy about the forthcoming ban on petrol vehicles because I could never afford an electric car and because at the moment they are inadequate for my needs and not sufficiently provided for, I am sure that by the time I am forced to change my car and they become mainstream this will have changed.

  1. I absolutely agree. There is a lot of preaching to the converted and making people feel guilty for choices which are often linked to a lack of disposable income. I think groups like XR need to be more inclusive and welcoming to those who can’t risk arrest or afford to lose their jobs by spending weeks camping on the streets of London. I support the people who do this and I understand the need to get critical numbers on the streets and disrupt the capital city in order to be heard but there needs to be more options for people who have everyday lives to get involved. They also need to portray there message in simple everyday language to get across to ordinary people. If the last few years have taught us anything it must be the need to listen to and get your message across to the masses.

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