Over the past couple of years, most of the major news headlines have centered around public health. And with good reason.
Over the same amount of time, there has been devastating bad news about climate change, and some positive news, such as when the dolphins returned to the canals of Venice (which actually turned out to be fake news, I’m sorry to say).
What makes the cycle of news start to run together these days, is that so often I get the same exact story from vastly different sources. Why follow or support different causes if they are all championing the same thing?
For the average person, who at most is following 5 nonprofits, that sliver of time you have to catch their attention should be wasted on the big, breaking news story they can get on every platform.
It’s the story of the Sierra Red Fox all over again.
(In case you missed it, there was a flurry of excitement a few years ago over the incredible story of the first sighting of the Sierra Red Fox in 100 years. This breaking news came at me from every environmental organization I’ve ever heard of.)
When every *breaking news* story tells me the exact same thing, it neutralizes the uniqueness of every single organization. No matter who you are, you in effect get overtaken by the rest of the herd.
I’m not saying it’s not important to share environmental news.
In this moment, saving our country from environmental implosion is a great and noble gesture. The threat is real, imminent, and the consequences are long-lasting.
If you are employed by an environmental organization or green business, you likely feel this weight very squarely has landed on your shoulders.
After all, isn’t this why we got into environmental work in the first place?
Fight the supervillains, save the world…
But your successes in those battles might be measured differently in the coming years.
Your success might come in small solutions, in little wins. Don’t lose sight of how good these little wins are. Really good.
And I get it why everyone puts out news releases about the biggest wins and the most devastating losses. We’re in this together.
There’s a lot of news to share, and crying on each other’s shoulders, not to mention banding together to fight the supervillains, is a great use of our cyber communities.
But don’t lose sight of who you are.
Just like I heard about the Sierra Red Fox sighting from every environmental organization with access to a computer, when Scott Pruitt got confirmed to be the EPA administrator, I heard about it in every email I received for days. Each one asked me to contribute my money to help fight this new villain and the same plea’s to fight #PollutingPruitt poured into my email from the Sierra Club, the Conservation Law Foundation, the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Climate Reality Project… I could go on.
So many organizations, so many different missions, all urging me to do the same thing.
Find a better balance.
Keep us informed of the big things – especially since a portion of your readership won’t be informed on every big thing.
But before you take on the whole world, think about your niche.
Remember that ONE thing that your organization set out to change or save. Highlight it. Be unique, fight for the thing that makes your organization different than all the rest. Otherwise, you’ll be lost in a sea of better-funded organizations than your own.
There are many ways to get through the coming years, in both the wins and losses. And succeeding at your small part will be a big win.