Magazine article Geographical

Craig Bennett: Is Director of Policy and Campaigns at Friends of the Earth EWNI (FOE), a Geographer and an RGS-IBG Fellow. He Talks to Olivia Edward about Why It's Important for Environmental Organisations to Engage Rather Than Preach, and the Role That Geography Could Play in the Greatest Challenge Facing the Human Race

Magazine article Geographical

Craig Bennett: Is Director of Policy and Campaigns at Friends of the Earth EWNI (FOE), a Geographer and an RGS-IBG Fellow. He Talks to Olivia Edward about Why It's Important for Environmental Organisations to Engage Rather Than Preach, and the Role That Geography Could Play in the Greatest Challenge Facing the Human Race

Article excerpt

One of the reasons I love this job is that there's no routine. I would get bored very quickly if I had to do the same thing each day. One day, I might be in the office having lots of internal meetings, the next, I might be on the Today programme in the morning, having a lobbying meeting with a government minister in the afternoon and giving a speech at a public event in the evening. And I also have to make time for thinking about the future; working out what we'll need to be doing in five or ten years' time is very important.

The dictionary definition of a campaign is a coordinated series of events designed to achieve a particular goal. I like that definition because every word is of critical importance in defining what makes a good campaigner. You have to be really clear what your goal or objective is--and it's important to spend a fair bit of time thinking about this; there's no point in two anti-airport campaigns each battling to have an airport built elsewhere when their objectives could both be achieved by campaigning against the expansion of the aviation industry. Then you need a good campaign strategy that contains a series of events--lesser campaigners put all of their focus on one event and then wonder why the world hasn't changed. But, ultimately, good campaigners are brilliant communicators who can both plan and respond to changing circumstances. It's a rare combination of skills.

I don't think you can be a campaigner unless you're an optimist. You have to believe that change is possible, otherwise you just wouldn't do it. But I don't think it's as black and white as some people believe--people talk about running out of time, but it's not as if we're going to reach a particular day when suddenly it's all over.

However, the longer we delay, the bigger the job is going to be. Every day that goes by when we don't transform the global economy into a sustainable economy is diminishing the value and richness of the future that's there for our taking. A good example is climate change: if governments had acted appropriately during the early 1990s, the job of decarbonising our economy would have been relatively simple, and relatively cheap, but now it's going to be a much bigger job.

It's easy as an environmental movement to preach rather than engage people in an issue. Those of us who are already deeply engaged in the subject need to remember to take people on the same journey that we've been on ourselves. For example. there's a lot of evidence to suggest that people become more interested in the energy debate when they've put solar panels on their house. I think that's true: my parents put solar panels on their house last year and ever since, my dad has been quoting articles from the newspapers about big energy issues, and he really wasn't that interested before. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.