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A better way to frame the issues we need to engage the public with



The public is overwhelmed with more information than they can possible process adequately. Additionally, information is coming at us all from multiple streams, whether it’s television, motion pictures, social media, videos on demand, the newspapers and magazines, books and periodicals, conversations with friends, texting, billboards and advertisements everywhere, the public has been induced into a psychological and advertisement induced coma, where getting an important idea into their mind set takes the wit and wisdom of those who understand this best.

At the same time, our existing global problems and challenges run too deep for most people to understand, thus causing a “Paralyzed citizenship” unwilling to take action, or not even knowing that every action they take can make a difference.

USGBC’s Living Standard campaign seeks to expand the conversation around sustainability and green buildings outside of the green building community to reach a broader population.

The campaign aims to understand perspectives on climate risks from outside our community so we can reach the people who will be most affected before it’s too late, and in doing so, help raise the standard of living for communities around the world. To support this effort, we will provide our community with the tools—statistics, stories, data and messaging—to help them engage the public to change their behavior or decisions on the scale necessary to accelerate efforts to combat climate-related risks.

Research suggests the green building community can tap into the public’s desire for better local environments with the following approach:

• Connect people’s concern to action by localizing the impact of climate-related risks and emphasizing the health impact on friends and family.
• Show how green buildings can play a bigger role in communities where people live.
• Embrace more inclusive messaging and language.

To make our Living Standard message and campaign something that can be repeated and amplified by our community, we present an “Action Toolkit.” The purpose of this Toolkit is to give our community—from LEED professionals and practitioners to USGBC members, from advocates to  developers to teachers—tools for how to carry our message into the broader public.

This Toolkit presents six methods for community outreach:

1. Framing the issue: The why, what, and how of our challenge and the entry point into our community.
2. “Say it fast” message box: A concise way to communicate our principal message in 150 words or fewer.
3. Key messages: A sample script and sequence for our key messages. Outreach should begin with our first message and continue to run through the script as is appropriate to the audience.
4. A call to action: Tangible and accessible ways the public can join our efforts.
5. Words that work: A glossary of words our community should utilize to be more inclusive to a broader audience.
6. Images that work: A glossary of example images to visually communicate the human story we want to tell.

Source: Living Standard

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