“Carbon literacy” versus “saving the planet”

We are so screwed.* In the next couple of years people in my fair city are going to be carbon literacied. Poor souls.

They will, for the most part, be taken away from jobs they do (and sometimes like), and subjected to a day of death by powerpoint where some talent-free grant-grubber with a patronising smugness lectures them about irrelevant stuff they don’t care about in an eyeball-peelingly where-is-my-pillow kind of way.
Their knowledge, their practices and their questions will all be ignored as our little ego-worrier… sorry, eco-warrior… drones through the script, terrified of curly questions and therefore doing everything they can to bore the victims (aka “participants”) into sullen submission.

Then they can tick the “delivery” box, grab their fee and move on.**

And this is how we will drive “behaviour change.” Oh yes.

* At this point, the author of Leaving Babylon may be leaving us

** There will be pockets of adequacy, of course. In a sea of stupidity.

** And this will all be Worse Than Useless. It will create resentment and cynicism. Reminds me of the classic Onion story
Gay-Pride Parade sets back mainstream acceptance of gays back 50 years.

PS What is to be done? Pretty obvious, surely – anonymised feedback for each session that is publically available for all to see. Twitter hashtag #killliteracy

About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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6 Responses to “Carbon literacy” versus “saving the planet”

  1. I am in the habit of posting uncensored, complete, anonymized evaluations of the conferences I facilitate. Here’s a recent example from a 2 1/2 day peer conference I ran for event professionals a few weeks ago:


    • dwighttowers says:


      that is a very good habit indeed, and I am delighted that you’ve shared it. The questions you are ask pretty damn good (I will be stealing them – and crediting you too) when I next organise an event.

      Can you explain a bit the mechanics of making sure that people know for sure that their feedback is anonymous? Do you use a big ballot box where completed forms go in and are ostentatiously carted away to be typed up by someone who wouldn’t recognise anyone’s hand-writing etc? Something else?

      Thanks for commenting, and everyone – click through to Adrian’s link. The only thing that bothers me (and it isn’t Adrian’s fault!!) is that this isn’t already a totally unremarkable “norm”.

  2. leavergirl says:

    Now how about doing this as part of the Dark Mountain Festival?

  3. It’s easy to make sure people know that their feedback is anonymous.

    I tell participants more than once during the event that we (the organizers) care about their feedback, we will read it all, and that it will be anonymized where necessary when published.

    People have to trust that you’ll be as good as your word. In general, they can tell.

    I provide a place for people to supply their name/affiliation and say that it is optional. Typically, more than half the responses include names.

    I’ve never been able (or cared to even try) to identify an individual’s handwriting on paper evaluation forms, so I am not concerned about that possibility.

    But these days I use online survey tools (surveymonkey works well), and choose a collection method where there’s no way to track who has responded if they don’t include their name. (Surveymonkey does have an option to create emails with custom links that identify the respondent, but I don’t use that.)

    Sadly, I’ve never seen any other event do this.

    Who will join me?

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