Want everyone else to buy into environmentalism? Never say “Earth”

Communication is a tricky thing, especially when it comes to marketing and having an impact on people’s awareness on an issue. Maybe environmental and sustainability movements do need to simplify their message to help it become more memorable for people. “We have to make the environment and climate be about (people) and their lives and the economy and justice and all the things that people do care about. And in fact that’s what it’s about, because if we don’t solve climate change, there is going to be a lot of suffering, by average people.”

Grist

For over three decades, David Fenton has played an unusual role in the environmental movement: marketing it. The company he founded, Fenton Communications, has worked with everyone from Nelson Mandela to MoveOn.org. It recently managed an anti-fracking campaign for Yoko Ono (fracking, it promised, would ruin New York’s groundwater, and therefore its bagels and pizza).

David FentonDavid Fenton.

To many environmentalists, what Fenton does — with all the celebrity chefs and celebrities, period — is … a little bit simplistic. To his opponents, he’s the Great Satan. If you find an article about him online, it’s probably a hit piece.

“People working in the nonprofit world sometimes have trouble adopting a marketing mindset,” Fenton Communications wrote in a 2009 report.  “But in the end, the goal is for people to ‘buy’ our ideas — ideas for a better world.”

Fenton recently talked with me over the phone…

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