Want to Market the Realities of Climate Change? Get a Handsome Vampire

…and the Terminator, and Indiana Jones, and a Titanically popular director and more. If you don’t get where I’m going with this thread, you may have been under a rock for the past week, because when Hollywood talks about climate change, all kinds of new audiences listen.

Years of Living Dangerously is an incredibly ambitious documentary on climate change airing on Showtime. It is also a fascinating case study in how to market a scary, complicated concept to mass audiences and stimulate new conversations across both virtual and physical communities.

al goreAl Gore – Won the Nobel Peace Prize

 

ian somerhalderIan Somerhalder - has 4.85 million followers on Twitter

 

al tweet

Al Gore, with 2.71m followers, is no slouch in social media – I’m just illustrating that perhaps Mr. Somerhalder has a bit more active fan base.

There are many different ways to tell a story and start a conversation. At EDF we focus on science, economics, partnerships and bipartisan outreach to find solutions to climate change. Our stories stem from the results we drive, and yes, we love talking about science and statistics.

The teams behind both the making and the marketing of the YEARS documentary are focusing on the human element. The series uses celebrities as the lens to educate the audience through human stories and simple language. They find the real value in communicating climate change at an emotional level.

Years of Living Dangerously - Ian Somerhaler

There’s also a human component in experiencing the documentary. There's no need to watch YEARS alone from your couch. The YEARS team is promoting human interaction: from social sharing through millions of celebrity followers, to spurring community action , to providing tools to host your own “viewing party” and find groups to watch with in your neighborhood.

Ian tweetYears tweet

In order to get climate change into the mainstream conversation, we need to lean on people who have high visibility in the mainstream. The bold names extending their environmental passion to this documentary include: Jessica Alba, Matt Damon, Michael C. Hall, Don Cheadle, Olivia Munn, America Ferrera, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lesley Stahl, Thomas Friedman, Harrison Ford, Ian Somerhalder and Chris Hayes.

Because EDF is chock full of scientists and economists, I’d be shunned in the break room if I didn’t provide you with some statistics:

twitter stats

Take over 16 million followers x thousands of tweets, favorites and shares, and YEARS just gathered a massive mainstream audience around an important issue.

At EDF, we are especially proud to be featured in the Years of Living Dangerously documentary.  Our flagship fellowship program, EDF Climate Corps, is featured in the May 26th episode, as Jessica Alba follows three of our Climate Corps fellows through their summer internships working with Caesars, Office Depot and Texas Southern University to help those organizations find energy efficiencies and become more sustainable.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing you to our Climate Corps fellows and the important work they do every year in hundreds of organizations. And yes, we’ll also be inserting ourselves into the mainstream conversation, so please feel free to tweet and share (#YEARSProject, @EDFBiz). Especially if you’re Jessica Alba …

Jessica Alba retweets EDF

 

Additional reading:

Craig K. Comstock of HuffPo says YEARS could be the 2014 version of The Day Afterhttp://huff.to/1eqyw0S

How YEARS came to EDF’s Eric Pooley with a great idea – http://bit.ly/1g3ujPm

Is there a ray of environmental optimism?

First there were the producers of “Years of Living Dangerously”, who wanted to end their ground-breaking documentary on an optimistic note. Next, President Obama and the First Lady invited former EDF Climate Corps fellow Tyrone Davis to the State of the Union address.

It seems like everyone is coming to EDF Climate Corps to find that one, important ray of hope when talking about climate change. Could we be onto something here?

The answer is yes. EDF Climate Corps does represent hope for a more environmentally secure future. Why? Because we are tapping into the country’s brightest and most passionate graduate students to create a ripple effect of environmental change in the corporate sector, in cities, and in universities. This is the generation that will change the planet with a new approach to leadership that balances profitability with sustainability. President Obama said it nice and loud, “The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” The new generation of leaders understand that we need to find ways to provide goods, food and services for an exploding population without decimating our planet. They’ve got the passion. EDF gives them the tools. Now they’re getting the exposure they deserve.

Case in point:

Gina McCarthy and Tyrone Davis of EDF Climate Corps

We are all incredibly proud of Tyrone’s work and the well-earned attention he has brought to the next generation of leaders.

Look for “Years of Living Dangerously” to debut on April 13th at 10pm on Showtime.

In the News: What to do when climate change gets in the way of business – drink less Coke?

coke

It took a decade of drought in India to make Coca-Cola leaders directly associate climate change with a threat to the bottom-line. Over at Nike, floods in Thailand caused them to shut down four factories in 2008. According to a recent article in the New York Times, these and other examples show how economic self-interest is increasingly forcing the private sector to lean in where policy has stalled. Read more

In the News: When it comes to climate change, do we take some economic pain now, or more later?

That’s a key question recently posed by the New York Times in response to a draft report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. With business leaders feeling the economic risk to their operations, all eyes will turn toward next week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where an entire day’s agenda will focus on addressing the rising costs of climate change. Read more