By Okechukwu Umelo

There are problems, and then there are wicked problems – and then there are super wicked problems. Many researchers and academics will say that climate change falls in the latter category.

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In his book, Fostering Sustainable Change, Dr. Doug McKenzie-Mohr has written that humans live “in a finite world” which will eventually force us to adopt sustainable practices. The book's narrative cautions, “While we have no choice regarding whether we eventually adopt these practices, the speed with which they are adopted will determine the grace with which we make this transition.” So, how do we accelerate our efforts to adapt?

Doug McKenzie-MohrIn a recent interview, Doug indicated that, “We have failed to articulate a vision for sustainable and healthy communities.” He said we need greater feedback on how and whether we are meeting our goals. Doug highlighted the importance of a collective vision, noting that Robert Olson has indicated that there have been no broad-based, large-scale social changes that have not been preceded by an overarching vision of where we’d like to go and how that imagined future is preferable to the present. He suggested that we need to tie this vision to the specific behavioral changes that are required to advance this shared vision.

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Social marketers are set apart by their quest for evidence-based approaches. We want to know that our time and energy working for social change makes a difference. We channel the desire to “do something” through a knowledge base that requires us to “do something that works”.  That’s why it was so exciting to see “Social Marketing: Systematic Review of Research 1998-2012” published in the March 2014, 20th anniversary edition of Social Marketing Quarterly.

beakers

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Nicholas Kristof — journalist, author, op-ed columnist, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes — knows how to tell a story. Yet even he has struggled to strike a chord with readers on tough social issues. So, he turned to the field of social psychology (Sound familiar, social marketers?) and the research of Paul Slovic, Ph.D. to move readers. 

refugee

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