Notes in the Margin

On the intersection of web apps, digital content and social media

George Lakoff: On Environmental Communication

Sobering synopsis by George Lakoff of his recent work into the failures of progressive and environmental activists to be effective in their communication. This includes insights such as:

  • All politics is moral: “Parts of the conservative moral system contradict environmental values — Man over Nature, Laissez-faire markets, personal not social responsibility, etc. Environmental values derive from a moral system centered on empathy and social responsibility.”
  • “Moral Versus Merely Factual Arguments. Facts matter. But for their importance to be communicated at all, they must be framed in moral terms. Facts by themselves are not meaningful to most people. Just arguing the science of global warming is not effective. If done defensively, it can be self-defeating.”
  • “Systemic Causation and Risk. Every language represents direct causation in its grammar. No language in the world represents systemic causation in its grammar. Yet both the global economy and global ecology are systemic in nature, with large-scale overall causes, positive and negative feedback loops, and so on. Systemic causation must be taught; it does not arise naturally as a concept. We must learn to think in systemic terms. Systemic risk is different from local risk.”

via George Lakoff: On Environmental Communication.


Written by tstaley

September 28, 2010 at 6:39 am

Posted in Communication

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