As we have passed through the countryside of England and Holland it has been interesting to gauge the level of awareness amongst Joe Public. Would a mention of Copenhagen produce blank looks, or an immediate recognition?
Generally it seems that, as marketing professionals would say, the Copenhagen climate change conference enjoys good brand awareness. Most people know what we are talking about. A few examples:
The postman in Dedham not only knew all about Copenhagen, but was planning to do his bit by going to London for the climate change march on December 5th.
A couple of men working in woodland in Essex, thinning out the trees, referred to their wood as a “carbon sink”. It was interesting to find that carbon sinks are now almost as much a part of the English vocabulary as kitchen sinks.
A Dutch chiropractor who got talking with us outside the Spar supermarket in Nieuwe Tonge not only knew about Copenhagen but had his own ideas about what countries should be there and what they should say. He had some interesting things to say about American representation… before realizing that we had two Americans in our party who were listening to his every word.
By definition, the people who have stopped to engage with us have been more than averagely engaged and interested – their curiosity about us probably extends to their attitude to the world at large, so they probably read the serious newspapers and pay attention to what is going on in the world. But even so, it has been heartening to find the level of awareness of the issues, the vocabulary, and what needs to be done to address the problem.
But are people taking action? That is harder to gauge. This is a problem that I have pondered at length. My perception is that awareness and action are both on the rise, but I am also keenly aware that the people I encounter are a self-selecting sample of the more actively engaged. And I have not been in a position (yet) to gauge awareness and action in countries such as India, China and Brazil.
I am sure that much work still remains to be done. There is no time for complacency.
Thanks, all, for your lovely comments! I’ve had very intermittent email access (most blogs have been posted by my mother after very hasty turning on of data roaming for just long enough to send her an email via my iPhone – ridiculously expensive otherwise), but whenever I manage to pick up my emails I pass your messages on to the team – and we all appreciate them very much!
(This message originally posted as a comment, but now replicated here to make sure everybody sees it.)
Loads of photos now posted online at our Flickr account – PLEASE CHECK OUT OUR GALLERY!!!
Today was challenging – flat, featureless and windy. But thankfully the rain that poured down throughout the night gave us a break, and we walked in mostly dry conditions. Heads down, chins up, striding out! Now in Oude Tonge, staying at the Hotel Lely.