Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up. ~ Dr. David Orr
How do we best awaken others and promote engagement?
The work of psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes, director for the Center for Green Growth at the Norwegian Business School in Oslo, Norway, tells us the most successful strategies will be:
- Social – Sharing information directly with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours, and inspiring and influencing them with our actions
- Simple – making safe tech behaviors convenient and accessible
- Supportive – framing the issue to be about human health, new opportunities, safety, and environmental well-being.
- They will create new Restorative Stories, and
- They will send clear Signals to others that positive change and outcomes are taking place.
Find lots of great action ideas Here.
The most successful framing of this issue will focus on:
- The Health of our families and our environment
- The issues of Risk Management and Liability
- The Opportunities created by changing our current trajectory.
Hint: For every threat mentioned, share three opportunities change will create.
Effective Movements transform:
- Cognition – the way we think about something
- Behavior – the way we live, and
- Most importantly, they Affect the way we feel about an issue, moving us closer to the heart of social change.
Obstacles to Engagement
We’ve all had those moments when we feel like – what’s the point? How do we encourage others to overcome ignorance, pessimism or apathy and become conscious co-creators of a safe tech world?
Attitudes we May Encounter
Distance – this issue feels far away, I feel helpless about it
Defense against Doom – a sense of despair has left me desensitized and disempowered
Dissonance – what I am doing (ie: heavy cell phone use) is contributing to the problem so I justify my behavior, which affects my attitudes
Denial – I may be aware but I live and act like I’m unaware
Identity – my personal values don’t align with giving government the power to create regulations that affect my life. Protecting my freedom to use wireless tech whenever I choose is more important than the facts that show that wireless causes harm. Preserving my sense of who I am trumps truth.
Keeping it Simple
Below are suggested responses to situations and beliefs that might be holding folks back from engaging in social change.
Adapted from Amanda Litman’s: How to Stand Up for Change When You Feel Helpless
I don’t have anything to offer.
Do you have money, time, friends, neighbours, family, a Facebook profile, or a Twitter account? Then you have something to offer.
Aren’t there other issues that are more important right now?
Forget about what the news says or what Twitter is up in arms about. If you care deeply about this issue, act on it.
I can’t contribute much money.
Can you spare $5 a month?
No: That’s okay! Your time and vocal support will make an impact. Just by discussing this issue with friends and family, you’ll bring more people on board.
Yes: Great! Even $5 will make a difference to organizations you believe in. Start a recurring credit card donation so the folks making budgets will know they can count on your support for the long haul. By giving, you’ll join a community of people, like you now, who are investing in the safe tech movement.
Yes, and I can give more.
Please do! And go a step further: Get your network involved. Talk about your donations on social media; invite friends to your home for dinner and a fundraiser. Don’t feel bad asking for money—remember, you’re not requesting a personal loan. You’re asking friends to invest in their own future.
I don’t have enough time to do anything meaningful.
That’s probably not true. Tell me the amount of time you have, and I’ll tell you what you can do to make a difference:
30 seconds a week: Retweet or share an online post and add your own call to action. Ask your friends to donate or volunteer, or simply ask them to watch a video and share it if they feel so moved. By showing your support for our cause, you’re helping expand its reach.
10 minutes a week: Make a phone call, or three. Dial up your elected representatives and let them know what’s on your mind.
3 hours a week: Find a local organization (begin here – Join a Group) and show up for them. Whether you’re knocking on doors or attending a town hall meeting, your presence matters.
I’m worried about what people will think.
Look at it this way: Your silence is a vacuum that the other side would be more than happy to fill. Is that really preferable? Take a moment to read our Ode to Activism and get inspired.