HAPPENING NOW: Open Martin’s Beach!
Comments Share

Complexity made simple (a.k.a. killing offramps)

March 10 2009 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

When I first came on to Surfrider I found myself learning a new lexicon. Since I had spent a fair amount of time in tech I had accepted that jargon and buzzwords are an inevitable stage of getting deeper into a subject. While I still believe that's true, I also see jargon as the anti-onramp. Ok, it's an offramp. There... see? I can't even write a post ABOUT jargon without slipping into my own personal jargon. But wait, let's pause on that thought for a second.

When we hear people talking about a subject we are a little bit interested in but hear words we've never heard before... we tune out. THIS is a problem. We need to seek ways to bring people closer to the environmental movement... not give them an excuse to walk away.

The challenge is how can we take something that IS complex (such as Marine Protected Areas or Desalinization) and talk about it in everyday terms. How can we make something complex simple? This was my goal with the phrase "onramp"... I tried to take a neutral term, one that everyone understands, and tweak it as a way to join our mission.

A few days ago I just came across a much, much more successful version of something that has taken very complex subject and made it understandable. The economic gyrations are impacting us all and yet I'd venture to say that very few of us could actually explain what is happening and why. Watch this video. No, it's not about our oceans, waves or beaches and yet it illustrates a way to take something complex and make it easy to understand. We, all of us environmentalists, have this same challenge. Let's learn from any example... and welcome more people into the fold.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=3261363&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.
Comments Share