Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Framing" and the fate of the earth

Please go over to Alternet and read the article by George Lakoff entitled "How We Talk About the Environment Has Everything to Do with Whether We'll Save It" . Lakoff, of course, has popularized cognitive science with his many speeches and articles about the importance of "framing" and he explains this basic concept toward the beginning of his article. Here are a few points he then makes:

First, the public's very understanding of nature has to change. We are part of nature; nature is not separate from us. Nature nurtures us. The destructive exploitation of nature is evil. What is good is the use of nature that doesn't use up nature.

Second, the economic and ecological meltdowns have the same cause: the unregulated free market and the idea that greed is good and that the natural world is a resource for short-term private enrichment. The result has been deadly, toxic assets and a toxic atmosphere.

Third, the global economy and ecology are both systems. Global causes are systemic, not local. Global risk is systemic, not local. The localization of causation and risk is what has brought about our twin disasters. We have to think in global, system terms and we don't do so naturally. That is why a massive communications effort is needed.

Fourth, the Right's economic arguments need to be countered. Is it too expensive to save the earth? How could it be? If the earth goes, business goes.

And there are more.

Somehow, we need to get this word out. And quickly, too.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:13 AM

    One of the many useful skills you have taught me is the need to reframe, especially when I realize I am not willing to concede another point of view.



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