Friday, 1 October 2010

Franny Armstrong's No Pressure Video and Climate Change Activism

Richard Curtis has made a short video to publicise the upcoming 10:10 campaign initiative.


A previous post discussed the radical potential of the 10:10 campaign.  This video makes an interesting follow-up. It is a series of short-sharp-shock films that appear to be custom designed for distribution through social networks as an internet meme. They come with celebrity endorsements from the likes of Gillian Anderson, David Ginola and Tottenham Hotspur ("The first football club to sign up") and present a simple, clear message about reducing carbon emissions through activities like cycling, changing light bulbs and insulation.

In this way it is a good example of one of the current trends in media activism. This focusses not on addressing systemic barriers to climate change solutions, but on individual activity. It does nothing to create strong ties between activists as part of a grassroots movement (one of the stated aims of the 10:10 campaign), but instead relies on weak ties generated through social networking. Further, in adopting the established conventions of commercial advertising and integrating itself with celebrity culture, the radical potential of such campaigns are blunted - and radical campaigns are surely what are needed. In this way it is exactly what Micah White was criticising in the previous post - "To increase click rate, they water down their messages and make their 'asks' easier and 'actions' simpler." No pressure indeed.

It will be interesting to see how effective the 10:10 campaign turns out to be. Hopefully I am completely wrong and billions of people across the world will radically transform their daily lives giving governments no option but to drastically redesign the organisation of the advanced industrial economies and channel resources into a sustainable but fair production model based on human need.


DSKS said...

If this had been produced by climate change skeptics, I would have given them mucho kudos for an amusing and highly subversive piece of satire (think Orwell's Animal Farm, think Gilliam's Brazil &c). It wasn't produced by that side though, and that's a serious problem for the ecowarriors who did produce it. This is a mishit of the nth order. Thanks a lot guys; you just did the climate denialists a tremendous favour.

MONTAGU said...

Update: according to a number of sources the video has been removed from youtube in response to the high level of negative reactions it was getting (I've found another version to upload but it may too be taken down). It seems that the idea that climate action advocates could explode climate change non-compliers at the touch of a button was a bit hard to take! So, DSKS, maybe the makers are now in agreement with you that this was mishit of the nth order?

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