Yesterday we were talking about a community that had a tough time adjusting to challenging information – real information. But that wasn’t the whole story. They also had a difficult time accepting the message from an outsider.
A lot of communities are like this. Civic leaders are wary of a new player. Power brokers see a new competitor. And citizens may not like the a) upstart from the sticks, b) elitist from the big city.
But is goes beyond geography. Business people may not want to hear contrary news from environmental advocates. Enviros may not like the way entrepreneurs interpret ‘sustainability.’ In short it’s hard to break into an established group with a new paradigm, especially if the new idea isn’t an easy one.
But that’s exactly we need to do if we’re going to get it right on this planet. We’ve done a lot of the easy stuff, as Nordhaus and Shellenberger point out in ‘The Death of Environmentalism.’ Now we have to be open to difficult information, and the messengers who will be delivering it. Many of them will be ‘outsiders.’ Are we up to the task?