[Coral-List] Communicating the Importance of Reefs to People

Christopher Hawkins chwkins at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 8 17:12:11 EST 2017

Per Jim's exhortation to speak up, I'll offer the following thoughts on communicating about reefs to the masses.
My first is to suggest reading Break Through by Nordhaus and Shellenberger. They provide a comprehensive, thoughtful, (often) uncomfortable (and sometimes repetitive) diagnosis of why environmentalists and the traditional environmental advocacy agenda and tools have been so unsuccessful in dealing with climate change. 
My second thought is to ask how many state, federal, and NGO outreach and education staff are recruited from top communications programs versus come from great marine biology and management programs? In the former, they teach about the psychology of influence and persuasion, understanding and measuring attitudes, communications theory and methods, segmenting audiences, knowing which groups are best to not waste time on (and why), social and individual values, and a host of other important topics. I don't know about you all, but I never learned much or any of that in my marine management BS or my tropical coastal management MSc. 
Our ecological management university training and on the ground approaches are, largely (generalizing here), appropriate for about the year 1925. And we wonder and gnash our teeth about why the public "doesn't get it." As Billy said, let's "look inwards."

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