Effective way to communicate the resource challenge?

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Harry Lehmann, Director of Environment Planning and Sustainability Strategy at the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), just dropped off this video ‘Flow’ aiming to explain the resource challenges we face to non-scientists. The video was made by UBA and the Sustainable Design Center eV.

While the graphics are attractive and the video gets more dynamic as it progresses, the monotonous computer voice drives me crazy and switches off any sense of humanity, for me. On the other hand, at least this voice can’t sound moralising and patronising, like other educational and campaign videos do.

What’s your view- does it effectively inform newbies to the resource field? Do you know a better one? All suggestions welcome!


One thought on “Effective way to communicate the resource challenge?

  1. I actually like the voice! It fits with the (I agree excellent) graphics well and has a futuristic feel. But I found the tone moralising none the less, with lots of bald statements and imperatives. Much recent psychological studies of environmental communication have found that approaches like this one, which aim to make people feel fearful and guilty in order to stimulate action can often have the opposite effect, especially on those who are not deeply engaged with environmental issues. It is a well-made film, attractively shot and manages to get a lot of information across, but it will only spur a certain kind of person to action, but then this is surely a weakness of all mass communications campaigns, and highlights why merely informing people about the problem, though very important, is not enough – ignorance is not the main reason for inaction, we have to think of the cultural, social, physical, infrastructural constraints to action, among others.

    Though I was pleased that the film highlighted positive and pragmatic efforts that could be made in future in order to ‘avert catastrophe’ – many people respond well to more positive messages in communications campaigns, I was disappointed at the narrow focus on technological solutions. This isn’t just a question of economics and technological innovation. For me it is important for us to discuss societal goals, and the organisation of economies, political systems and societies, which I see as the ultimate way of dealing with, not ‘solving’, the environmental problematique.

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