Dorothy Sayers, early twentieth century crime fiction writer, coined the phrase “it pays to advertise”. This is a truism in the world of politics and its purpose in this sphere is to change behaviour rather than selling something. There is a vast range of phenomena that can be described as political advertisements, from wearing a badge or attaching car stickers on vehicles to books, films, theatre and other artworks. The effect of these ads/actions can be both short to long-term.
My political campaigns over 10 years involved various forms of advertising, and the campaigns themselves were advertising – to alert the populace to the dangers and threat of climate change and to offer some solutions. Accompanying these campaigns were a variety of advertisements – leaflets, press releases, radio interviews, paid newspaper ads and on one occasion a paid TV ad. The latter, for budgetary reasons, was screened only at times when the audience was very small. If the aim of all these campaigns was to change voting patterns then they definitely failed. Whether they increased people’s awareness over a longer period is much more difficult to assess.
Likewise, running a blog meant that to increase reader numbers, small advertisements and promotions were put on the free social media. Along with business cards and a small stickers placed in second hand books and circulated locally, this has been far more successful with reader numbers generally around 600-1200 per month with a peak of 7000 during the bushfires.
Aside from continuing to blog I consciously attempt to advertise every day – this includes wearing an “I support Climate Action” badge pinned on my hat, a “Climate Action Now” corflute in our front window, stickers on our cars and on our rubbish bins, with the latter being in the street for 24 hours every week. As well I tweet and post on facebook daily. One of my favourite sayings is from Gandhi and worth repeating – “You may never know the results of your actions, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”
A climate activists’ task is to advertise continuously the best way they can and to hope that this eventually will bring about some of the desired change.