Besides the usual bickering from and about politicians – three events caught my eye the past few days.
- Spitsbergen is disappearing into the sea, because of the Northpole melting faster then all scientific models were able to predict.
- Edelman’s yearly trust-barometer indicates that public trust in institutions is diving below zero.
- And the NOS (Dutch public broadcasting organization) decided that good news is now officially newsworthy.
This age is the age of the tipping point, where good news becomes so rare that it becomes news, where trust in institutions – government, non-government, media- has reached an all time low and where our ideas of a healthy, living planet are tipped over by melting ice.
In the long run, earth will find a new balance. Refugees will settle, religious fanatics will have turned to ashes, Trump will be an echo in history, new societies will emerge.
But for us, the next decades presents new realities faster then Trump can tweet. We have to deal with it and have to adapt and have to decide whether we work united or stand divided.
For public relations and media professionals have landed at a crossroad. Choose the road of spin, deny, accuse and rule and then keel over – or choose the road of finding solutions, presenting alternatives, follow the explorers, ignore the dividers and then just maybe hold our ground or die trying.
Good news now qualifies as ‘news’ too
One event gave a glimpse of the latter. The first Energy Commissioner of The Netherlands was appointed and installed on the 12th of January in Amsterdam. Several national news outlets interviewed the Energy Commissioner on his goals and first actions. The Energy Commissioner was installed because like its equivalent, the Delta Commissioner, The Netherlands is on the eve of disaster. The Delta Commission was installed within weeks after the disastrous floods in 1953. “Never again” was its motto and the Dutch made water management and water innovations their biggest selling point.
The interesting point is that the Energy Commissioner is not installed by the Dutch government, he is not being paid either – he has been put forward by hundreds of Dutch civilians, actively working on climate change innovations – in research, in their homes, at the schools of their children in their offices – from activist Shell shareholders to civil servants, teachers and renewable energy initiatives.
The first Energy Commissioner of the Netherlands, Ruud Koornstra, appointed by the people
One more time: the first Energy Commissioner, appointed by the swarm, interviewed by reputed national media outlets, working on one single goal: make sure that the new government, after the elections in March, will take renewable energy as serious as they take the risk of getting flooded.
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