Twitter was alive yesterday morning spreading a link to Jeremy Grantham’s 2Q 2010 letter (complete version found here.) In Grantham’s letter on page seven he outlines “Everything You Need to Know About Global Warming in 5 Minutes,” which for shorter reading can be found here amongst a number of places.
Beyond being a clear minded and thoughtful summary of why global warming is not a hoax (my words), Grantham hit on a very powerful idea – that science needs to up its game PR and marketing wise, even though it goes against their core nature, that of objective presentation of facts and analysis.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this argument in the past few months. The June issue of Wired contains a great essay by Erin Biba on this very topic, titled “Why Science Needs to Step Up Its PR Game.” Biba does a nice job outlining the issues scientists have with moving into the limelight and some ideas on how celebrity ambassadors can lend a hand to elevate the conversation to larger mass awareness.
Both of these examples hit on what the core need is to make sustainability a longer term mass goal for society – how to translate these facts into stories that everyone can relate to. PR has sometimes rightfully gained a reputation for being “spin.” After ten plus years in the business I’ve seen my fair share of that. However I’ve also seen how when done well, earned media through PR efforts can lift a brand and an idea to new heights.
The stakes are too high for the scientists to sit on the sidelines – they are the objective resources with the facts whose voices can carry the most weight with the general public. We need to hear those voices, and PR can absolutely lend a hand.