David Fenton discusses his brilliant, just-published and much-needed book in this Enviro Close-Up. As environmentalist and actor Mark Ruffalo says of the book: “Activists need to be communicators and story tellers. David Fenton knows that at his core and has helped the environmental and climate movement reach the public for decades.” From the fights against fracking and Alar and global warming to the “No Nukes” concerts, there has been David. In the book, subtitled “Lessons From Fifty Years As A Progressive Agitator,” Fenton presents “Communications Rules For Activists,” which he discusses in the Enviro Close-Up. These include “Craft Simple Messages Everyone Can Understand” and in them “avoid jargon…and above all avoid rhetoric.” As David says: “We have the knowledge and tools to create a lasting, better world….To win, we must use effective messages that touch people’s hearts and reach them.” The book also has a section titled “Organize To Win” in whiåçch David recommends “Avoid Sectarianism” and “Beware Endless Meetings And Processes.” Professor George Lakoff of the University of California at Berkeley, who wrote the foreword to “The Activist’s Media Handbook,” writes that: “If progressives lose the future, it will not be due to a lack of good policy ideas. If we lose the future, ceding democracy to authoritarians or bad corporate actors, it will be due mostly to a stunning failure to communicate with people in simple language that connects with them on the level of their moral values.” Lakoff explains that David “understands the importance of presenting issues in a way that taps into the most deeply held values of an audience.” In his book and this Enviro Close-Up, Fenton passes that knowledge on.
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