Allies, Advocates, and Partners: Communicating Social and Environmental Issues Effectively
How do we engage and inspire policy makers, the media, and our global population to understand and act on the pressing need for change on complex, pressing social and environmental issues like climate change and social inequality? How do we build trust in facts and data and inspire others to embrace discomfort and redesign our systems, societies (and comfort zones) so we can survive together? How can we tell stories that are more inspiring and engaging than fake news, are authentic, strategic, and create real impact with audiences we need to reach?
Awareness of social and environmental issues among decision-makers and the general public has escalated in recent years. It’s central to a organization’s reputation and many political platforms, pressing issues like ecosystem collapse, climate change, food and energy insecurity and social inequality threaten our collective prosperity, safety, and survival. Now is the time to make the most of opportunities to communicate effectively and engage those who can create change with facts, figures, and real solutions based on science and research. Whoever tells the best story wins—wins the attention, energy and potentially action of key audiences. The science and research community needs to get better at telling stories in order to save the world.
Leadership mentor, teacher, and sustainability expert Betsy Reed will speak on the importance of engaging allies, advocates, and partners in the community. She will be interviewed by Heather Young, vice-president of communications at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST).
There is now doubt that consulting with stakeholders shows good governance, transparency, a commitment to meaningful two-way communications, and a recognition that your stakeholders can contribute to future changed, which directly or indirectly affect them. Why don’t so many people engage in this way? How can this work be done in a meaningful way—and, also, in a practical way?
Using allies, advocates, and partners can help us build reputation and legitimacy, keep us accountable, and ensure we’re not creating risk by greenwashing or purpose-washing. They can also engage stakeholders we would never be able to reach on our own, add perspective that enriches our overall understanding of uses and subsequent communications approach, add capacity, and create more of a buzz by presenting and unusual or unexpected alliance.