Message needs to stick

27 January 2012 –Paul Keating not long ago lashed out at “sandal-wearing, muesli-chewing, bike-riding pedestrians”.

It was another Keatingesque king-hit. He somehow managed to lump the whole green/climate change/design-sensitive agenda under same limp wet blanket.

Our most amusing former prime minister might want to respect greenies and climate change champions. Instead he mocks them. Why?

Because when it comes the media and marketing the green/climate message has failed to ignite the imagination and fire in the belly of mainstream audiences.

In fact the polls say support is going backwards. And this for the most mission-critical time-critical agenda we know.

Yet green, sustainability and climate change champions are the smartest people in the room. They’re the change agents, the cool ones. (Let’s face it, who wants to get stuck talking to the climate dinosaur in the puffed-up chest?).

In November last year the Total Environment Centre’s Green Capital seized this issue in a stunning forum in Melbourne and Sydney that asked what had gone wrong with the climate change and green message.

It brought together some of the best minds in the media and political strategy business. It nailed some of the most important failures, truths and successes in the game. No holds barred.

And it was amongst friends, all passionate people who want to know why the movement is losing ground in the mainstream and how to re-seize the momentum.

After all the most powerful side of doing good work is its potential to ignite motivation, mass action and viral inspiration.

Like the wise man said “everything, in the end, is about marketing.”

In one of our slimmest issues ever, this is a behemoth of an article and will take you longest to read. But once we started work on it, it was impossible to stop. So many good quotes. So many insights.

Together with new download material since posted by Green Capital, we think it’s a gem.

We hope you agree.

Someone is listening
But maybe the media message is not altogether failing.

In the property world you can argue it’s pushing ahead in leaps and bounds. There also seems to be an amazing transformation underway in attitudes to energy consumption.

Our story on Stockland and Alan Pears for instance.

Stockland started a small firestorm this week when it released a new study of comparative energy costs between a new home and an old one. At least in TFE’s mind.

The savings it was claiming were so large ¬– energy bills slashed by three quarters in some cases – that we thought it best to run the figures past leading energy expert Alan Pears, adjunct professor at RMIT.

Pears thought the numbers stacked up. But the big reason, he says, could be that the running costs of modern household appliances have been slashed.

“Efficient lighting is giving 80 per cent savings,” he says.

“A good solar hot water service is cutting hot water bills by 70 per cent plus.”

Even that old nasty, the flat screen television, has been overhauled. According to Pears the latest Samsung 100cm TV uses 30 watts, compared with older models that consume 200-450 watts.

It’s a recent turnaround, and it is partly a function of a change in consumer behaviour, partly a change in strategy for appliance manufacturers, partly a case of better housing design for companies such as Stockland and if you throw photo voltaics into the mix, a case of better technology.

But in all those elements, the common thread is a message that is seeping through.

tperinotto@thefifthestate.com.au