Last Friday I checked my Twitter feed every half hour. I was watching the pictures of global strike crowds roll in. Each wave of cities and their massive crowds made me happier. It was haaaaaappppening. Later that evening I had dinner with friends, and a smart and stylish and environmentally knowledgeable pal asked when that strike was taking place. Oof. In that instant I realized that not everyone’s Twitter feed is exclusively Greta Thunberg and absurdist comedians. We are each of us in a mediated bubble of our own design. I know this and yet it wallops me in the face on the regular, like the dab of wasabi I have never once remembered is hiding in the nigiri.
My bubble is so curated I sometimes see the same climate pieces shared 34,000 times, by friends, groups, and algorithms alike. I often don’t share things myself because I assume everyone will have already seen them. But this is nuttery! Have you ever opened a browser after a friend has failed to log out and realized the world they experience is full of no-bake recipes, or extreme sports, or ‘Archie: The Royal Baby’ albums? The long tail is a million miles long. It’s a disorientingly useful wake-up call.
And it’s why this preamble is segueing into my quarterly Talk Talk Talk climate post. I used to judge friends who posted their causes gratuitously on FB, instead favouring an 80/20 mix of ironic detachment/weird Japanese inventions and Things That Matter. Over the past few years I’ve realized that we, each of us, have to shout climate from the rooftops, off every soapbox, into every megaphone, over every death metal soundtrack. Bonus if we can be only moderately annoying while doing it.
I also realize I need to reinforce Thaler’s First Rule of behavioral science: Make it easy. When is the strike? Why should I go? How can I participate? Am I invited? All of this is clear as carbon if you’re in the climate bubble, and murky as hell if you’re in an exclusively Nailed It bubble. My deepest respect if you managed to craft a life around the latter.
My goal in getting an OpEd into the Globe and Mail business section was to get climate in front of people who generally don’t climate. I also tried to couch my carbon in business terms—it truly is good practice to support employees who want to act. My second goal was to not read the comments. My boss later included a link to the piece in our company newsletter, and was chuffed to get a response from a VP at a very large company saying he liked the idea and had given his employees the option to go to the climate strike. Baby steps. Adult marches.
Talk climate! Talk climate at dinner, talk climate at your synchronized swimming class, talk climate in places where people never talk climate. Dance while talking climate in a neon jumpsuit for super happy magic extra credit.
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Have a wonderful week in this beautiful world!