Author Topic: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution  (Read 53 times)

pmethinxlamna

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Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« on: December 24, 2017, 12:55:47 AM »
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Speech needs to create emotional reactions in order to have impact.  Psychologists tell us that emotion functions together with cognition, to help us with attention, retention and motivation.   <strong class="bbc">If the message doesn't resonate emotionally, people won't notice that, much less remember it</strong> or be moved to action.

That kind of struck me in relation to the manner we discuss pollution.  What are we using that have a psychological impact, so people listen, retain what we say, and are motivated to modify their particular lighting/behaviors - or even more importantly, participate?  What phrases do we use so people will notice, remember, and be moved to action?

I would argue we are failing on this point.  Although some in the light industry, and even larger businesses and a few municipalities, are seeing the advantages of improved lighting techniques and implementing these, the growth of light pollution has lasted, largely because those who do NOT understand about poor lighting techniques keep putting up awful lighting which contribute to the issue.  99% of light fixtures I see available in home improvement stores do not protect light properly.

As LED lighting costs come down, we will lose the ability to discuss light concerning price, as the power required to operate them is even less than incandescent / other types of lighting.  Luckily, they're directional, but only if we MAKE THAT POINT, and get it to STAY in people's minds, are we likely to really make a difference.  Otherwise, there'll be more slender and more LED lights on the market, light up the night even more than what we have today.

What phrases do we come up with this will create short, memorable, emotionally-powerful messages to receive our argument into the public world?  Any ideas we could use to drive this message home more effectively?

Should we focus on sleeping?  Security?  Security?  Crime?  All the above, but in a coordinated manner?  How do we craft our message so it's emotionally-charged, and so, memorable?



Duane Berhane

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2017, 10:16:59 AM »
Well, for starters, I would guess that the majority of humanity don't regard light as a pollutant.   So we've got a huge job right there.

Darius Swick

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2017, 11:22:43 AM »
I consider the thousands of substandard bridges and roads in this nation and the billions squandered on light pollution within the past 30 years or so.  The notion of being safe when driving on unresponsibly lit but crumbling bridges and roads, dim but def stirs emotions.  Everyone can agree its better to turn off some lights and use that money to rebuild our infrastructure.

rennlispuring

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 09:29:29 PM »
I wholeheartedly agree with you all. The problem with light-spilling streetlights is that it tires out your eyes while driving, making driving conditions even more unsafe. Proper illumination is not the same as overly bright lights.Connecting this concept with the average person is a challenge because for all the advancement of civilization, will still believe that there are monsters in the dark other than criminals.

highdabbkofi

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2017, 07:31:44 PM »
I think some sort of "friendly neighbor" slogan would get to some people. Lighting not only affects the property owner but his or her neighbors. Properly shielded lighting can mean happier neighbors (no light trespass = better sleep, etc.)Unfortunately light trespass is so widespread that it isn't even seen as a problem. In city neighborhoods and densely packed suburbs you have cobra-heads at *every* telephone pole. The people living in these houses don't even know what it's like to experience darkness. They think light pouring into their windows at night is normal because it's just always been that way, instead of asking the question "why is a light meant to illuminate the street shining into my house?" I sometimes complain about the streetlight that shines onto my house and people will just say to put up black-out curtains   People just don't care. This is a great thread that brings up an excellent point. How do we get normal people to care about something like this? It affects all of us but most don't even notice or think twice about it.

David Allen

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2017, 03:12:37 AM »
Recent studies show that strong emotions do <strong class="bbc"><em class="bbc">not [/b]work with cognition - in fact the opposite: people cannot think clearly on topics where they hold opinions strongly enough to trigger their emotions.

Turning a civic issue into an emotionally loaded topic seems something many people these days are only too willing to do. The result is a polarized shouting match where there is no room for sensible solutions based on common interests. Thinking is limited to sound-bite knee-jerk retorts.

But if you want to join the slogan-shouting masses scratching each other's eyes out, that's your choice. If you get good at it, call local TV news, they love that stuff, especially if you can incite violence.

Michael Presley

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2017, 03:47:53 PM »
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The thought of not being safe while driving on unresponsibly lit but crumbling roads and bridges, dark but def stirs emotions. Everyone can agree its better to switch off some lights and use that money to rebuild our infrastructure.

This is an interesting thought; juxtaposing images of bridges that have collapsed while showing overlit areas that are glaringly bright is an interesting idea to keep in mind. Maybe something to that.... good thought.<p class="citation">QuoteI think some sort of "friendly neighbor" slogan would get to some people. Lighting not only affects the property owner but his or her neighbors. Properly shielded lighting can mean happier neighbors (no light trespass = better sleep, etc.)

Unfortunately light trespass is so widespread that it isn't even seen as a problem....[it's seen as] normal because it's just always been that way, instead of asking the question "why is a light meant to illuminate the street shining into my house?" I sometimes complain about the streetlight that shines onto my house and people will just say to put up black-out curtains   People just don't care. This is a great thread that brings up an excellent point. How do we get normal people to care about something like this?[/quote]

Well, that's why I'm asking the question. I wonder what language we can use that will get people's attention in a way that is constructive, but pull at an emotional thread so that they WILL remember it.
<p class="citation">QuoteRecent studies show that strong emotions do <strong class="bbc"><em class="bbc">not [/b]work with cognition - in fact the opposite: people cannot think clearly on topics where they hold opinions strongly enough to trigger their emotions.[/quote]

That's a different topic. I agree that when people are emotionally overloaded they don't have good cognition skills. That's entirely different than creating a marketing idea and words that cause an emotional reaction in someone to move them to action.

Almost no one buys a new car because they NEED one. They buy it because they WANT it. That's emotion over logic. In fact, that's basic sales (read "How to win friends and influence people" or "How to master the art of selling" if you don't believe me), and that's really all I'm saying. I'm not at all suggesting we work to get people so mad they can't think straight. I'm saying, for example, to get someone to think, "Hey, that IS wrong that there's a streetlight shining in my kid's window... and there's something I can do about it too? Good... maybe I will, because I can find information to help me." That's why I made this other thread, for example.

What I'm referring to here is getting someone to an emotional reaction that invites a positive response (in a sales/marketing kind of way), not sloganeering on a TV shoutfest. Those are entirely different things. Let's please keep this on the former point, not the latter one - nor conflate the two as being the same. Thanks.

cieledrore

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2018, 10:17:30 AM »
The other thread shows you have been patient and polite in your interactions with all the locals involved. "Good on ya", as Australians may still say.

Enforcing your own (excellent IMHO) chosen behavior patterns on others, once you get them roused, and in the face of less-than-respectful responses, may prove difficult.

Best wishes in your efforts.

James Clayton

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2018, 09:43:15 AM »
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Enforcing your own (excellent IMHO) chosen behavior patterns on others, once you get them roused, and in the face of less-than-respectful responses, may prove difficult.

As I discovered with my rather intransigent neighbor, it was more a matter of ME being roused and finding myself becoming increasingly frustrated by the continual stonewalling I received from him. But that's also why I ask the question: What language can we use? What did I overlook in that particular situation? What could I have said differently? Perhaps nothing; and indeed, that particular problem may very likely require intervention at the local political level to produce results (and then that may rouse him after all, and not positively).

But my point remains: We can use language to sway people's opinions, and often in ways that run counter to instinctive fallback reactions. What we need to do is (and I hate using this phrase because it's so overused, but it's appropriate) is to create a new paradigm with respect to lighting. And in so doing, what language can we use that makes people have an emotional reaction, and stop and think, "Yeah, that IS the right thing to do?"

They may not take action right away. But if we have changed their mind, it is shifting the paradigm.

For example:

What if we had a campaign of, I don't know, a short YouTube video. Perhaps it showed someone dealing with light shining into their window, even after they have put up light-block curtains. In other words, they've already done their part, but this light keeps them awake. If we point out that studies are showing this light is related to breast and prostate cancer, those who have been affected by those types of illnesses will have an emotional reaction. They will realize, "Hey, there's a connection between these two things!" And we can then provide a quick education about how simple this can be to fix: A shield over a light, a fixture that aims down, a light with a timer, or motion sensor.

That's what I mean: We need to hit upon a point that MEANS something to others. Light pollution means something to amateur astronomers, but what is the response from others? "Drive out to the country if you want to see the stars!" What's the subtext there? "That's YOUR problem, not mine, and I need the light for security / safety / etc."

We need to shift that. We need to point out that cities in the U.K. that have turned off all their streetlights saw crime DROP. People have almost ubiquitous cell phones now. That gives everyone a flashlight/torch. If not, how much is a flashlight now? $1? $2? It's a nominal cost compared to lighting everything all day long. The issue of sleep is another one, which relates to the melatonin issue. That one ties in with the breast and prostate cancer issue. The AMA has a resolution out there thanks to Dr. Mario Motta that talks about lighting at night with respect to older persons and glare. Lots of things to touch on, but what's the best way?

So I'm asking for what ideas we can use to create the emotional connection with turning lights off, to get people to NOT be "scared of the dark," to get them to think, "Yes, dark at night IS better" and for a valid, emotionally-appealing reason. A car salesman can argue logic all day long, and make zero sales. We can argue logic all day (or night!) long on light pollution, and get nowhere too. We need to hit the emotionally-appealing notes coupled WITH the logic to shift the lighting paradigm that exists.

We do that? We'll see movement on this issue in people's minds. I'm just looking for what those notes are or might be, and there will be different things that appeal to different people. The more we can identify, the more we can touch on.

acoplochop

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 07:57:51 PM »
…for what it’s worth:The experience with TV adds trying to get folks to increase re-cycling of bottles, cans, etc found the following: Adds trying to convince people that re-cycling was good for the environment resulted in no noticeable change in re-cycle rates. Adds showing local people actually re-cycling *did* improve the rate. Apparently people are motivated by seeing others “do good”.

Corey Gibson

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2018, 01:24:03 AM »
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…for what it’s worth:

The experience with TV adds trying to get folks to increase re-cycling of bottles, cans, etc found the following: Adds trying to convince people that re-cycling was good for the environment resulted in no noticeable change in re-cycle rates. Adds showing local people actually re-cycling *did* improve the rate. Apparently people are motivated by seeing others “do good”.

I'd say that's worth quite a bit... good insight, George! Thanks!

unverjacea

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 08:50:02 AM »
Using emotional language appeals (obviously)  to emotions and not the intellect. Many people like me resent this manipulation and would prefer arguments that focus on economics (energy savings) and other factual information. Manipulation turns people off.

Paul Syring

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2018, 12:39:56 PM »
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Using emotional language appeals (obviously)  to emotions and not the intellect. Many people like me resent this manipulation and would prefer arguments that focus on economics (energy savings) and other factual information. Manipulation turns people off.

In other words, you need to be manipulated at a more sophisticated level. There's a quote about lies and statistics that comes to mind ...

All of us make decisions based on emotions -- as well we should. Intellect is useful for matching up actions with goals, but it can't generate goals all on its lonesome. You can't get an "ought" from an "is."

Daniel Ferguson

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2018, 02:59:43 PM »
Manipulation is wrong. You can educate people and maybe invite them to view through your scope and perhaps an opportunity will open up to explain the negative effects of light pollution.  Getting snarky does not lend credibility.

ciomapicsta

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Re: Emotionally powerful language for light pollution
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2018, 11:00:40 PM »
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Using emotional language appeals (obviously)  to emotions and not the intellect. Many people like me resent this manipulation and would prefer arguments that focus on economics (energy savings) and other factual information. Manipulation turns people off.


Our intellect tells us what we NEED.
Our emotions tell us what we WANT.

Gale