Atmosphere Cancer – You can’t be serious?

Obviously getting in early for April 1:

Much of Seth Godin’s work – his famous blog; his books and TED talks – convey the following: No product or idea will spread just because of a brilliant technology or rock solid facts. In essence, people will respond to stories that stand out, which creates culture, changes behaviors, and leads to change.

Seth Godin – Udemy

This applies to the big societal changes too, Godin told Business Insider Nordic at the Nordic Business Forum in Oslo, when asked about the role of storytelling in solving societal problems, like climate change: “[Storytelling] is the only thing that’s going to solve it,” he said.

“Just look at what happened with gay marriage in the US in the last 10 years. It went from being safe and respectable to be against, to something that no one speaks up against anymore.”

“Did everybody change their mind? Of course not.”

“What changed was the culture, and the culture was changed  because of the story,” Godin says. “People like us do things like this. That’s it, that’s all we got.”

‘Call it atmosphere cancer’

The solution to global warming then, in Godin’s playbook, comes down to simple storytelling. Instead of “letting scientists poorly tell a story with lots of qualifiers in it”, Godin says, storytellers should craft a message that resonates on a personal level:

“For starters, global is a good thing and warming is a good thing. If [the scientists] had called it ‘Atmosphere Cancer’, they probably would have started on a better footing: because atmosphere is scientific and cancer is a bad thing. There are no cancer deniers. Everyone knows that cancer is a chronic and degenerative disease, and you need to stop it soon. ”

There are also very few “global warming” deniers.  Most skeptics dispute that mankind is the prime cause of the warming that has happened ever since the planet left the last ice-age and that taxing CO2 will fix anything.

Godin has famously talked about how sliced bread – invented in the 1910’s – only gained traction once Wonder Bread, a breadmaker, told the right story 15 years later; or how doctors washing their hands would help save millions of babies from childbed fever in the 19th century – but only decades after Ignaz Semmelweis, who discovered the simple antiseptic hack, published his books and died miserable in a mental asylum.

Although Semmelweis’ proposal faced resitance from the scientific establishment, which is not true of global warming, his case sheds light on how a given practice – i.e. reducing carbon emissions – can turn on the politics of a situation.

“The vast majority of people on this planet … would rather not be wasteful and would rather not kill ourselves and our grandchildren. [..] We need to figure out who the key players are, so that it’s not acceptable to stand up and say ‘I’m denying this thing that’s gonna kill a billion people in the next 20 years’. You can’t do that, because the culture won’t permit it.”

“so that it’s not acceptable to stand up and say ‘I’m denying this thing that’s gonna kill a billion people in the next 20 years’.”  Did anyone EVER say that?  A strawman argument if ever there was one.

Andy Pattullo’s online response to this idea:

Stratospheric syphilis? Global gonorrhea? Planetary plague? Capitalist chancre? Meteorological leprosy? I may be biased but I work in infectious diseases. Perhaps my colleagues in gastroenterology can come up with something more fecaliscious.

I wonder how those suffering from cancer or with loved ones afflicted by cancer would react to the crass insensitivity of using their pain and suffering to score cheap political points in Godin’s “storytelling”?

Global Warming, Climate Change, Global Climate Disruption, Climate Weirding, Extreme Weather, Carbon Pollution – are all so last century; go wild – supply your best descriptions below.  The Oilers are capable of much more creative descriptions.

Nordic Business Insider


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WH is a pale, stale, male who does not believe all the doom and gloom climate nonsense so enjoys generating CO2 that the plants need to grow by driving his MG.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.

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