On this July 4th, Independence Day, lets celebrate by becoming part of the solution! Our general approach to issues has been to show how bad things have gotten and this is then supposed to jolt us into action. As Phil McGraw asks, how is that working for you? As we can see, not well. We are fatter, sicker and our environment seems to be getting worse by the day.
Generally the approach taken uses statistics to document how we are wrong – such as this recent editorial in my local paper: Daily Reflector Editorial: Denying Climate Change No Longer has Legitimacy
Al Gore, while certainly helpful in getting us to address the issue always attempts to scare us into action. In his recent February 2016 TED Presentation, after scaring us, he explains that we are doing better. He provided a lot of data about the progress we are making in creating solutions.
While it was better, because we are predisposed to the presence of things – good or bad – (Feature Positive Effect) more than the absence of bad things, the real benefit will be when we become part of the solution by creating more good. We must clarify the benefits, when we see how it is better, many will take action. As we create more good, the bad will be moved out if it is done using a systems approach.
If you are interested, in 2006, after seeing “An Inconvenient Truth”, I sent Al Gore these letters in November and then December 2006. No I never got a response.
December 30, 2006
Dear Honorable Al Gore,
In this second letter, I would like to enhance the ideas and provide you with a platform for environmental action. These ideas have been generated from the reading of Thomas Friedman’s excellent book, The World is Flat. The letter I sent earlier is also enclosed
In the earlier letter I emphasized the need to move toward gains from environmental action rather than away from what would be non-losses or prevention. As I said, promoting gains WOULD PREVENT PROBLEMS BUT ALSO PROMOTE REINFORCING GAINS FOR SOCIETY and would likely generate more environmentally corrective action.
In my previous letter I specifically talked about moving toward the development of clean technology. This new technology could lead the world and be desired by all the developing nations as we reach the point of no return concerning the environment. This push would also focus on the development of new science and technology, a needed and important focus.
This point was emphasized in Friedman’s book as he described the hundreds of millions in India and China that desire our lifestyle, cars, refrigerators, appliances etc. He also explained how we are losing our lead in the world of science. As a platform, like Kennedy challenged America to get to the moon, you could challenge us to develop clean technology. These developments of course would lead to tremendous financial returns for all, everybody would desire these products, and they could be produced with a global supply chain. Also, use of these products would help all enjoy a better world to live in because of a cleaner environment. This also would help America lead by example rather than force. A RESULT WOULD BE THE PREVENTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION THROUGH THE PROMOTION OF FINANCIAL AND EDUCATION GAINS!
Other platform issues could include creating greater access to the world-wide web, state and city sponsored wireless access, and a real education reform program to emphasize science. Better education is needed for a better tomorrow and for us to compete in the new global marketplace.
On another note, I have read that you work with Apple and were on the recent committee that cleared the executives in the stock options debacle. Can you encourage Apple to improve their environmental practices? GreenPeace has listed them as environmental problem and has created the site, www.greenmyapple.com to facilitate change.
November 27, 2006
Dear Honorable Al Gore,
I am a professor at East Carolina University in North Carolina. I have always been interested in environmental issues, probably because I read your book Earth In The Balance early in my career. I encourage my students to be environmentally responsible and I attempt to be a role model. I drive a Prius and support the environment by reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting whenever possible.
I recently saw your movie, An Inconvenient Truth and am pleased that this movie has helped change some attitudes and may result in some supportive actions and legislation. Although I greatly support your efforts, I would like to offer some ideas on the enclosed pages that I believe will help enhance your efforts to create a healthier environment!
I work with health promotion and new research promotes a theoretical philosophy for moving people toward benefits as the most effective way to prevent problems. Salutogenensis, the study of the origins of health, guides these efforts and this same successful philosophy can be adopted to guide environmental action. I encourage you to read the enclosed 2-page summary of how and why these techniques may be helpful.
Although it takes effort to shift a paradigm, history demonstrates it can be done. Currently I am working on creating a salutogenic approach for the health field (CV enclosed). I believe I can help you build a successful plan to motivate environmental action. I can be reached by any method listed above or below. I am most easily contacted by email. Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Craig M. Becker, Ph.D.
Thank you for doing your part from which we all benefit. Please tell me how you are becoming part of the solution!