Jeff Goldblum’s character in the film Jurassic Park delivers a line that is both profound and now a classic internet meme.
The quote – “Life, uh, finds a way” – sums up nature’s ability to rebalance itself when human activity disrupts the proper order of things, be it genetically engineered dinosaurs or the environment.
The toll on human life from coronavirus has been devastating and very sad. But we are also starting to hear about the positive impact that social distancing is having on the environment.
Covid-19 and the climate crisis both pose an existential threat and I believe how we are fighting coronavirus offers an important lesson for the future of life on Earth. The pandemic will pass but, when it does, the climate crisis will still be there.
The question we need to start asking is: are we going to return to business as usual or is this an opportunity to discover a smarter and possibly more natural way of living?
Compare the Covid-19 ‘brand’ and the climate crisis ‘brand’ and it’s clear one feels real, urgent and personal – with the other remote and distant. In one sense, Covid-19 has the ‘right’ sort of awareness and the public is responding appropriately to a very serious threat. The connection with the individual is powerful and people want to be told how it’s going to affect them and what they need to do.
But the conversation about saving the planet has an image problem and that needs to change. Consider Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and Greta. If the ‘environment’ had a brand right now, it would be disruptive and very inconvenient, which is sad, because deep down we know what’s at stake.
Finding ways to empower the individual is the vital next stage in the journey towards a more harmonious relationship with the planet.
A new realisation is udawning at a personal level that it is no longer about waiting for ‘them’ to sort it out, but about thinking: ‘I want to do my bit’.
The public is increasingly looking to business to help them help the planet. It’s as simple as that. From home to work to places of learning and leisure, the built environment is where the majority of us spend most of our time.
This means the property industry has a critical role to play. In a very real sense, our industry has the power to secure the planet’s future. We could be leading the conversation about climate, not simply responding.
By providing sustainable options, you are empowering people and their green lifestyle decisions.
We need to start connecting on a personal level. Talk about how you have built positive environmental thinking into your offer and everyone is a winner – from investor to end user.
Your audiences want to hear what you are doing. When it comes to the environment, don’t be backward about coming forward. Tell them what’s on offer – and they will tell others. Live it, make it part of your brand and in the long term, you will be glad you did, and so will your children.
Covid-19 and the climate crisis are wake-up calls. If we don’t listen to the messages, life will find a way to make sure they are heard.
Farhan Urfi is senior creative director at Small Back Room