David Levy – How to engage and solve the problem – two takes on the answer – Aug 2014

Take One:

This is called the “silly season” in media terms. Newspapers scratch around for stories to fill their pages, and the readers scratch their heads over the fare. I have experienced this phenomenon on holiday when anything to read on the beach is better than nothing!

Marinet has, time and again, reached out to engage with the media and other interested parties, displaying friendship to one and all. However it was only by talking to a journalist, George Monbiot, that I realised we were on a “kicking to nothing” due to our style and our approach. The truth is — detail turns people off until they are engaged. So engage first, then content after.

Taking up the offer of a meeting in Oxford, Deborah Wright and I met with George Monbiot and he was charming and very helpful on how Marinet should launch Deborah’s book Conserving the Great Blue, with helpful hints on the quality of what we wish to say, its length, and who to approach in the media who may be sympathetic.

Deborah Wright’s Conserving the Great Blue would naturally fit alongside the work being done by Polly Higgins on “Ecocide” and George’s work on “Rewilding the World”. Each concept is really interesting and full of thought provoking ideas for the public — ideal fodder for discussion around a beach bar! Ecocide was originally proposed to the United Nations alongside genocide, but dropped at the last minute. Very simply, business woke up to the serious implications of being held accountable.

I would challenge any media outlet to find a more interesting story to these — ecocide, rewilding the World, and conserving the Great Blue. What’s missing at the moment is that we must learn is how to engage, and brevity is the key to that success.

Take Two:

Trying to get fit and lean is maybe a step too far for this out of condition body of mine, but now is the time for the effort before the brain decides it’s too late and that I am what I am!

The comparison with Marinet is closer than you would think. We have made the decision to part from Friends of the Earth, but are we really prepared to put in the time to change?

Some of us are. Yet some prefer to leave it to others, and some are content to see their role as just being a part of our corpulent self.

The truth is that too many of us fit the latter two categories, and we will not grow in stature unless this changes — and this means a gear shift in your thinking.

When I think about the wages that go to make up the organisational bodies of the NGOs, I am convinced that too much is taken away from the “front line” — which is often generated by members at the local level.

Now could be a positive time to consider all the aspects of belonging, finding solutions, and how to succeed in tackling environmental matters.

Otherwise you might end up counting aphids, and asking yourself the question: why is it that on these hot humid days the bonnet of my car is not smothered with the crashed bodies of insects? You might also realise that chemical pesticides are wiping out the food sources of many bird species, and the ecosystem that supports of our wildlife.

Question is: What is the issue, and are we involved in the solutions?

David Levy

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