Take a cue from Rio and bury your environmental message

A lifelong lover of the Olympics, I cleared my calendar and eagerly snuggled down to watch the Opening Ceremonies of the Games in Rio.

As the night progressed, the environmental writer in me couldn’t help but totally geek out.

Talk about seizing the moment! All the world is watching, and they used their stage flawlessly.

Admittedly, I’m an enormous sucker for any good story. But besides being meaningful and well-executed, I believe there’s one main reason the story told in Rio’s Opening Ceremonies was so effective.

They buried their environmental message in a story.

Sitting in my own little roost in the U.S., never having set foot in Brazil, I miraculously felt personally invested in the story unfolding.

How can that be?

Watching the indigenous people stomp around in their thongs on the lime green of the hologram floor, I was captivated.

And I continued to be wrapped up in the stories of the human lives as they played out over Brazil’s history. In fact, I wasn’t at first aware of how that hologram floor had changed from vibrant green to a mess of colors.

Brazil today was depicted as a modern patchwork that, perhaps, doesn’t do their beautiful country justice. Yet, at the same time, that patchwork of colors was an honest representation of modern-day Brazil. Host to millions of lives, cradle of thousands of occupations and livelihoods. Choices, both historic and modern, selfish and sacrificial.

The real genius of the story, however, came after this transformation.

As this is the Olympics, an event that involves the entire world, the creators took the destruction Brazil has seen to a worldwide scale.

The ice caps melted, Amsterdam and Miami flooded, noxious gasses swired off of North America and Asia…

As a watcher, I felt chills. But as an environmentalist, I was thrilled.

I you haven’t already made the connection… this was a masterfully crafted story that any environmental organization or green business can learn from.

They told a good story, one full of heroes and villains, hopes and fears, that really had nothing to do 90% of the world’s population.

But then, at the moment we might have realized this story had, in fact, nothing to do with us, they brought the rest of us into the picture too.

And like I said before… the reason it worked was because the crux of the message was buried underneath a story we were already captivated by and already personally involved in.

The takeaway message from the Opening Ceremonies?

Tell us a story. Bring us into your world. And then show us why your story matters to us.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s