Published on January 21, 2014
It’s a Good Thing More People Don't Care About Global Warming A surprising journey into the world of memes Presented By: Presented by B. Lazlo Karafiath CEO B. Lazlo Karafiath, Joe Brewer 11.19.13 Culture Culture Inc. March, 2013
Culture Culture Inc. Culture Culture is a culture design lab with a focus on Sustainability & Climate communication 2 Our Meme Science is great for truly good listening, finding patterns & help others to see what we saw.
3 Memes are Cultural Genes Memes = idea molecules Networks + Memes = Spreading Spreading is Emergence Essentially: memes are the DNA of culture, business, communication & technology.
People have no direct experience with climate change. It is not an object they can touch to confirm that it is real. And so it only lives in the minds of people as an idea – a very threatening idea!
Some people have been “infected” with the global warming meme. Their minds then tried to fight it off by either actively denying the meme‟s existence or striving to change the world so it no longer exists. Both of these groups represent a small percentage of the larger society. Most people have managed to protect themselves by ignoring its existence altogether and going about their daily lives. These other people have not been infected. This study focuses on the subculture of people who carry the global warming meme.
All People Infected Population The population infected by the ClimateMeme virus represent about 5% of humanity. Whatever messaging worked to infect them will not work on the larger population. We need to discover how they differ from the mainstream population to design different messaging strategies for the rest of society.
We began with 5000+ memes from Twitter and harvested during MemeHunter Hackathons in San Francisco and Seattle. If you think the economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath while counting your money. “I’m definitely going to change this year.” -- Climate Global warming is increasing UM NO!!!! We cannot control the weather Friends don’t let friends date climate change deniers… Happy to agree that climate change exists. Not sure if reality exists though. If climate scientists find any evidence of global warming then their funding throughout eternity will be assured. Don’t believe in climate change, rap fans? Tell that to Vanilla Slush, Water Cube, and LL Warm J. If we all just got real, as a culture, then we would fix it… One of the main weapons of the power elite is climate change. People are supposed to be panicked… Global warming = the result of the sun trying to give the earth a hug. The most effective green house gas is not carbon dioxide, but water vapor. The trend of co2 in the atmosphere is following the rise in temperature, not the other way around. The Doha climate conference made more hot air than global warming Remember when a Tornado was just a Tornado and not a commercial for global warming? It would be great if assault rifles could shoot climate change… Adjust your spine, adjust your attitude.
These memes were then run through our Meme Science Insight System to reveal the hidden dimensions that define the global warming meme as it exists in the mind-space of tweeters and hackathon participants. The following slides showcase the results of the memetic discovery and detail the perceptions of global warming in the discourse.
Meme Dimensions of Climate Change • Five dimensions were found that explain 63% of the variance among the memes (this is good, textbooks say above 60% is fine) • All five dimensions can be interpreted clearly to reveal strategic insights • These are the drivers of perception for climate change Cooperation Disintegration — Unity Survival Extinction — Survival Momentum Harmony Disharmony — Harmony 15% 17% 12% Stall — Advance 11% 8% Elitism Populist — Vanguard
These dimensions represent the “contested battlefields” on which to engage if we want helpful memes to spread among people who already carry the global warming meme. People‟s minds are attracted to one pole or the other to fulfill a psychological need and so these polarities represent leverage points through which social change can be made. We will now go through ten slides containing sample memes from each dimension to show the richness of attitudes, values, beliefs, and sentiments expressed through them. Then we will move into a discussion of how to use this information to promote positive change in the world.
Memes of the Harmony Dimension • • • • • • • • • • • • Disharmony Pole Harmony Pole „I don't want our pale blue dot to be a brown smudge.‟ „We've always stood in awe of Earth's beauty. Now that we've BROKEN CONTRACT with her, we will learn awe of her destructive side.‟ „Because trust me, the corruption on this planet makes global warming look like a bruise. That is what is the real danger to us all.‟ „Climate change needs to be villainized.‟ „In the 21st century mankind has lost its reverence for Mother Nature. This is the ultimate explanation for global warming & climate change.‟ „A Touareg proverb: The difference between paradise and desert is not water, but man.‟ „If you think the economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath while counting your money.‟ „Extreme Weather Belief Like A "pagan rite of human sacrifice to ensure a good harvest.”‟ „Climate change happening so fast it's emotionally and physically traumatic.‟ „We have to make deals with the animal masters again.‟ „For most businesses, in their current forms, sustainability is a contradiction.‟ „Happy to agree that climate change is real. Not sure if reality exists though.‟ The disharmony dimension is comprised of memes expressing belief in global warming, their fears and aspirations about a world out of balance.
Memes of the Harmony Dimension • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • „Nature lives in us not outside of us. It's a child we need to nurture.‟ Disharmony Pole Harmony Pole „Commune with nature and connect with our interconnectedness.‟ „Humanity, the global environment, capital all in balance with love and empathy = solution and hope for the future.‟ „You can't understand anything in isolation from its environment. the leaf contains the sun, the sky, and the earth.‟ „Like a good neighbor, global warming is here.‟ „Alignment of Gaia consciousness enables flow: systems larger than us empower work in benefit of them.‟ „Global warming = the result of the sun trying to give the Earth a hug.‟ „I think we have to nurture nature because nature will save us.‟ „Fossil Free Future.‟ „If we connect to our own inner climate we can shift the climate outside of us.‟ „How can we care about the things we don't really know and love? More connection to nature = protection of it.‟ „The environmental crisis is a spiritual crisis. Greed is the root cause, that's spiritual.‟ „If you don't support the environment the environment will not support you!‟ „Interactions with animals that can be a really powerful tool for people to feel empathy toward the situation.‟ „We have to locate the wild part within ourselves so we can be kin to nature. „ On the harmony side, the memes express hope and a desire to commune with nature—including allusions to a spiritual connection.
Memes of the Survival Dimension • • • • • • • • • • • Extinction Pole Survival Pole „Sadly, the end of the world has already happened. It's just that most people haven't quite realised it yet.‟ „If we don't do something about global warming, everyone is going to die...FOREVER!!!!!‟ „Arctic permafrost is melting. Planet is hooped. Mankind hooped!‟ „In my opinion I think global warming gone kill us all. "Hell on Earth." Unbearable temperatures with no Ozone to protect us.‟ „Climate Change is Already Killing 400,000 People Annually. „ „Political system seems totally unprepared to deal with the routine of disaster that will characterize life under climate change.‟ „Guardian editorial on climate change: "We don't have another planet to go to.”‟ „We have lost our connection to each other and the Planet. Fossil fuel extraction is suicidal. We are bleeding out.‟ „Climate change will kill millions of children this century. Comparatively no point worrying about gun laws.‟ „There's so much competition for resources and attention that people are in survival mode.‟ „When you talked about asteroids and meteors, everybody could get that.‟ The extinction memes speak of doom and apocalyptic ruin, often using past tense to convey a fatalistic end that cannot be avoided.
Memes of the Survival Dimension Extinction Pole Survival Pole • „Clean energy for our children.‟ • „The end of being upon us unless we marshal all our strength NOW to resist ecosystem destruction, climate change, inequity, injustice & war.‟ • „Anyone else wondering if Gen X/Y is in fact the Climate Change Generation?‟ • „Climate change..humanity's mission impossible.‟ • „Pentagon now factors climate change into its national security planning.‟ • „Extreme weather tied to climate change is the new normal. Now we need to prepare for it.‟ • „Death is inevitable - so what are we doing with our time here?‟ • „Dinosaurs committed mass suicide depressed after Arnob yelled and convinced them they will never survive the climate change!‟ • „Hey negative Nancys, instead of bitching about global warming why don't you just enjoy it while it's still fun and we're not dead yet.‟ • „I don‟t care about global warming because the worst thing that could happen is we all die.‟ The survival memes express a considerable amount of gloom, while holding out the possibility that we might still come through bruised but alive on the other side.
Memes of the Cooperation Dimension Disintegration Pole Unity Pole • • • • • • • • • • • „Dirty air in China is our dirty air 6 months from now.„ „Pablo Solon argues that addressing climate change isn't a fight between countries, but between classes.‟ „If you think you need a leader to fight climate change, grow a pair or grow up. Drive for survival is not a collective thing. Sacrifice is.‟ „We damaged the ozone layer and fixed it why can't we fix climate change.‟ „One in which all people are forced into working together.‟ „We've taken only the smallest steps in acting on climate change. Will change come slowly, or in a rush? When it does, I hope it comes fast.‟ „Witnessing the stark reality of global impacts washing up on the shores of your local community.‟ „What I hear on the radio: global warming is a myth. WELL I HOPE YOU DROWN FROM RISING WATERS.‟ „We may need the LILYPAD sooner than we thought: a floating city for climate change refugees.‟ „This generation of kids got dealt a shitty hand. The worst family channel shows, cyber bullying & global warming.‟ „So, if we ignore a problem like climate change it means it doesn't exist. I am going to start ignoring my credit card bills. Problem Solved.‟ The disintegration memes evoke strong beliefs that the human race is divided and kept segregated by powerful historic, economic, and political forces.
Memes of the Cooperation Dimension Disintegration Pole Unity Pole • „By uniting our voices, we have the power to cut through the denial and doubt.‟ • „Alaskan youth are suing the state over Climate Change.‟ • „If we all just got real, as a culture, then we would fix it.‟ • „There's a huge opportunity now to leave one lasting impact to save the world.‟ • „We are amazing - when we have the right incentives we can do anything!‟ • „We are equipped to cause it and to stop it.‟ • „We have to stop relying on others to come up with solutions for climate change, we need to be the solution.‟ The unity memes are by far the most positive we found, articulating a strong optimism that humanity can come together and do great things.
Memes of the Momentum Dimension Stall Pole Advance Pole • • • • • • • • • • „It is well understood that the communists movement is behind the fraud of man made global warming. Since the fall of Berlin Wall.‟ „I felt desperate when smart climate scientists and technologists were saying that we'd be fine if we just stopped what we're doing.‟ „Both Obama and climate change are hoaxes!‟ „Hilarious and sad. New study proves climate change deniers are conspiracy theorists; they respond appropriately.‟ „36% of Americans believe severity of recent natural disasters is due to Biblical endtimes rather than climate change.‟ „Every year I'm learning things are worse than I thought.‟ „I am sort of burnt out on messaging that says I have to fix climate change through more expensive shopping and pain in the neck self denial.‟ „How can we save the World from global warming? — What!!! more like how should I know that?‟ „Climate change is far removed from people's everyday concerns so is hard to mobilize around. „ „Climate change is the Bigfoot of our generation.‟ The stall memes bring together denialist perspectives and climate believer cynicism in a mutually reinforcing pattern of dismissal and frustration.
Memes of the Momentum Dimension Stall Pole Advance Pole • • • • • • • • • • • „In the near future, the political tide will turn and the public will demand action on climate change.‟ „Humanity is going thru a state-shift. Someday we won't understand freemarket capitalism any more than we understand feudalism.‟ „Syracuse University students join climate change divestment campaign.‟ „Hurricane Sandy was a holy shit moment.‟ „Climate change needs to become again a moral crusade, anger and emotion must galvanize public concern.‟ „I think we should teach everybody to bum rush climate change.‟ „War on Fossils.‟ „We can change really fast. If we want to.‟ „He said we have ten years to turn this around and i knew right then that this was my calling and I would dedicate the rest of my life.‟ „Doha outcome disappointing, but it set the stage for a broader agreement. Activists be alert, it's 2015 or bust.‟ „Maybe someone should do a prank call about climate change. Maybe then it would gain some prominence.‟ The advance memes take a future-oriented posture, that we have the ability to create change once the conditions are right.
Memes of the Elitism Dimension Populist Pole Vanguard Pole • • • • • • • • • • „Crowdsourcing can be tool to fight climate change by using indigenous knowledge.‟ „I think my takeaway is that, like climate change deniers, extremist defenders of gun rights are both reality and logic challenged.‟ „Regarding Climate Change: "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them” - George Orwell.‟ „Really? There's still people that somehow think global warming isn't happening? „If you believe in man made global warming you're a complete fool.‟ „The stupidest people in world history may be those who have denied global warming during the last decade.‟ „Kyoto climate change treaty sputters to a sorry end - Global governance is an elite's illusion.‟ „What if we spend billions of dollars (that we don't have) and then find out the scientists were wrong?‟ „We are so disconnected. Food comes from 'the store'. Water comes from 'the tap'. Trash goes 'out.' „ „Ricky Gervais, those opinions come as a bundle: Pro-Life, Anti-Gay Marriage, Climate Change Denier, Gun enthusiast.‟ The populist memes focus on pragmatism, direct experience, and a distrust of authority—while still harboring a sense of superiority about their own views.
Memes of the Elitism Dimension Populist Pole Vanguard Pole • • • • • • • • • • • „Al Gore just sold his Climate Change propaganda business to Big Oil for $100 million. Nice earner that Anthropogenic Global Warming scam.‟ „If climate scientists find any evidence of global warming then their funding throughout eternity will be assured.‟ „Obama is the leader of the new world order and the pope is the devil in disguise and the banks are paying the sun to increase global warming‟ „CLIMATE CHANGE: Did scientists fake British floods to justify more gold-plated research money into debunked global warming theories? Yes.‟ „Some people see priests as source of higher truth, I see scientists as conduit to higher truth.‟ „The science of climate change is political science!‟ „Drill baby, drill!‟ „Report: Ski Industry Sees $1 Billion In Global Warming Losses.‟ „Everyone's bitching about how indecisive the weather and I'm just over here like "I told all you bitches global warming was real!!!”‟ „Say it. I dare you. I double dog dare you. From climate change, to guns, to economics, to etc.: "Liberals. Were. Right. All. Along.”‟ „We need a climate change action hero.‟ The vanguard memes express an arrogance of “I know better than your experts”, with a my-father-is-better-than-yours attitude about their own.
Weighted Statistics - Meme Dimensions Dimension Harmony Survival Cooperation Momentum Elitism • • • • -100% Disharmony Extinction Disintegration Stall Populist 0 +100% Harmony Survival Unity Advance Vanguard All dimensions contain pervasive negativity, gloom, and conflict—making clear why global warming is not a good meme. This explains why it has not spread to larger populations. Elitism dimension expresses disdain for expert opinion through both poles, reinforcing the lack of unity expressed in the Cooperation dimension. A significant change in perceptions about unity could reverse the polarity of the Cooperation dimension and reduce harm inflicted by anti-elite views. It is also noteworthy that the survival pole tells us that a gloomy outlook pervades the entire global warming meme landscape. Choosing between extinction and a long-shot for basic survival is not appealing to the masses.
Observations and Insights One discovery is that the global warming meme is a composite of both climate denier and climate activist memes. They are opposing gladiators in the same arena. • • • • • The denialist memes have populated the momentum and elitist dimensions, but are glaringly absent from all others. The activist memes carry forth harmony, survival, and cooperation—yet are overshadowed by deep pessimism about the future. Lack of unity in the meme space is holding back the spreading of this meme. This is made worse by how dark the entire meme landscape is. The best these memes offer is that we might not all die off when the collapse comes. Overall, we can see why the global warming meme has only penetrated 5% of the global population. It lacks the power of other memes (e.g. Gangnam Style, CocaCola, Mayan Calendar) that have spread more successfully. This beckons us to look outside the global warming meme to find a path forward. Global warming is not a good meme. The last 20 years of communication attempts have failed entirely. We must look outside to find better memes that spread more easily.
The Good News The “silver lining” is that 95% of the population is not mired in this gloomy predicament. • • • This tells us that most people are psychologically resilient against the global warming meme. Now that we know what this meme is, we can see that this is very good news. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the failure of the global warming meme (as it currently exists) means a better meme can fill the void—if only we can figure out what it is. Infected Population All People The way forward is to look outside the global warming meme space to discover memes that have greater mass appeal.
Look for What’s Missing It is just as important to look at what is NOT in the global warming meme. LOVE SHARING INNOVATION COLLABORATION ENTREPRENEURSHIP CREATIVITY The most inspiring dimensions of human experience have been left out!
Merge with ‘Adjacent Possible’ Many global trends will enable us to alter the global warming meme. What we need to know is how this broader context provides opportunities for creating new cultural associations. • • • • The rise of social media and digital connectivity enables us to envision new models for collaboration. A burgeoning sharing economy reframes the web of social relationships that are valued and replicated. Media-saturated natural disasters increase levels of compassion and interdependence on a global scale. Creative expression is exploding through user-generated technologies. This baseline study of the global warming meme tells us where to look for resonance in mainstream culture.
Introducing the Culture2 Meme Map 1. Defining Memes :: Help the global warming meme spread by defining what it is about. 2. Immune Deficiency Memes :: Inherent weaknesses, memes that keep global warming from spreading. 3. Hostile Memes :: Seek to destroy the global warming meme. 4. Parasitic Memes :: Latch onto global warming to spread themselves. 5. Symbiotic Memes :: Mutually beneficial memes that could strengthen the global warming meme. The blue ocean of memes from a communication standpoint. The Meme Map is a tool to verify communication strategies and tactics. To be successful your messages must play into the defining and symbiotic meme space, immunize against immune deficiency memes, and sap the energy of the hostile memes.
Global Warming MemeMap immune deficiency symbiotic memes defining memes memes • Humanity is going thru state-shift. • Crowdsourcing & indigenous knowledge. • Connect to our own inner climate to shift climate. • Like a good neighbor GW’s here. • Death is inevitable - so what to do w/ our time? • The costs of climate change will be borne by the 99% • Climate change is a fight between classes. • I don't want our pale blue dot to be a brown smudge. • Gaia consciousness enables flow in systems • Fossil Free Future. • Nurture nature because nature will save us. • Clean energy for our children. • We damaged the ozone layer and fixed it • We are amazing when we have the right incentives we can do anything! • How can we save the World? more like how should I know that? • Happening so fast it's emotionally and physically traumatic. • Climate change needs to be villainized. • Arctic permafrost is melting. Planet is hooped. Mankind hooped! • Climate change will kill millions of children this century. • Political systems totally unprepared • Corruption makes GW look like a bruise. • A pagan rite of human sacrifice to ensure a good harvest. • Business+sustainability is a contradiction. • OK, CC is real. Is reality real? • GW? Worst thing is we all die! • Both Obama and climate change are hoaxes! • Climate change deniers are consp. hostile memes • Drill baby, drill! • Climate scientists look for evidence to assure funding • CC is far removed from people's everyday concerns • An idea so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them • We spend $billions & we’re wrong?? • End of the world has already happened. It's just that most people haven't quite realised it yet. • Communists movement is behind GW parasitic memes
Noteworthy Observations • The defining memes tell stories about protecting the planet for future generations, expressing a “can do” spirit of confidence and optimism. • Unfortunately, the immune deficiency memes tell a very different story—the world is divided, our institutions are not up to the task, and crippling doom is all around us. • The situation worsens considerably when hostile memes bring conspiracy theories, character attacks, and self-doubt into the mix. • Parasitic memes draw attention away from the defining goals of the global warming meme, not causing significant damage on their own but adding burden to injury. • The glimmers of hope reside in those symbiotic memes that convey stories of external solutions like crowdsourcing and social media that may bring a “state shift” in global politics to save the day. The meme map tells us that we should seek more symbiotic memes to assist global warming in spreading—something it is too weak to do on its own.
About Us Joe Brewer & B. Lazlo Karafiath www.cultureculture.com At Culture Culture Our mission is to help good ideas spread so they can change the world. We are living in a world where “good memes are not good memes” — the most influential ideas are often destructive and harmful. They have had more success at spreading than the ideas that humanity needs to survive and flourish into the foreseeable future. As a social impact company, we recognize that doing good is a great way to earn a living. Our advanced meme technologies are only used in the service of this worthy ideal. We live our values and hold the integrity of our mission as a core operating principle. We would like to thank Laci Mérő and Gábor Menkó for providing research support to this project from Budapest. Learn more at http://www.climatememe.org
What’s next? • ClimateMeme2: Middle America • Meme research into Middle America, into middle • • income families Our topics are the resonance points discovered: Harmony, Survival, Cooperation, Momentum, Elitism Our mission: Finding symbiotic memes to create a ClimateMeme that spreads 30
Our Memes Thank You for Your Attention! B. Lazlo Karafiath CEO B. Lazlo Karafiath, Joe Brewer firstname.lastname@example.org Culture Culture Inc. facebook/culture2.com twitter.com/culture2 www.culture2.com facebook.com/culture2inc twitter.com/culture2inc www.culture2inc.com
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