Mobilizing Support and Measuring Success
An analysis of the citation histories of English language bloggers focused on energy issues, shows that 350.org surpassed the reach of the traditional environmental advocacy organizations over the two months before their day of action.
Environmental groups, like most traditional advocacy organizations, are best at mobilizing their known supporters and communicating with the existing political channels. However, as the charts below illustrate, these organizations – unlike 350.org – have not had the reach into new audiences such as green parents and green tech.
Our research on the relationships, sources and language of these new audiences has found that they tend to be less political and more focused on their personal contribution to climate change (more focused on “carbon footprint” then the environmentalists who are more focused on “carbon capture”).
350.org, which focuses on building a movement around climate change and setting a specific goal for climate change negotiations, successfully reached an audience outside of the traditional political dialogue.
In looking at the recent coverage on the health care debate about the “public option” and with the NYT reporting that “some prominent scientists and economists focusing on climate policy said the 350 target was so unrealistic that the campaign risked not being taken seriously,” one has to wonder if the way to be taken seriously outside the political bubble is to be shunned by the experts pointing out what is realistic.