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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 10-Jul-09

 


Friday 10-July-09

Carbon simple

If you were concerned about the environment and wanted to publicize and persuade others to do something about it, what words would you use? Various phrases have been used in this area, from 'save the planet' to 'greenhouse gases', 'global warming' and 'climate change'. One word, however, has stuck and come to the fore in various ways: Carbon.

Why is this?

Words are very powerful, especially when it comes to communicating ideas and changing minds. It's therefore important to take the time to get it right.

When communicating big issues, it's easy to over-do the description. Thus talking about global warming or saving the planet leaves the individual thinking 'so what difference can a single person like me make?' And as a result they do nothing.

Getting scientific can also leave people cold, especially on emotive issues. A subtle difference here is between 'carbon dioxide' and 'carbon'. Both are chemical, though carbon is a lot more tangible. Carbon dioxide can seem neutral -- after all it's the harmless stuff we breathe out.

'Carbon' has many benefits over other words or phrases: - it is at the heart of the issue: we burn carbon-containing fuels and produce carbon-containing gases, including carbon dioxide and methane. - it is a simple, single word, easy to remember - it does not have any strong connotations already so does not repel people and is a blank canvas on which to hang other issues. - it can easily be combined with other words, such as the Carbon Trust and Carbon Credits.

Choosing a name for anything, from a child to a painting, is a difficult endeavour and can have a huge impact on how that thing is perceived. It is well worth spending time in creative thought and exploring perceptions before making a final decision


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 Blood Simple was a good movie, too.

-- Iosef


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