Thomas Dolby (yep- THAT ‘Dolby’) a tech-respecting pro issued a song a generation ago that captures the mindset of most of the public, news viewers, Social Media participants: ‘She Blinded Me With Science” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V83JR2IoI8k
imo no other song so perfectly captures the skeptical POV of most journalists (few have a science background) & most ‘Influencers’ that Science is to be mistrusted & isn’t worth covering. They know the public are wowed by OPTICS- bytes, pics, Data ‘Visualizations” (often fraudulent) are what sells.
That accounts for ‘Virtue by Association’ efforts; orgs aiming to ‘look’ ethical may try to ‘leverage’ feel-good trends & slipstream’em. Sometimes they’re ‘outed’ (a green-named cleaner that isn’t ‘green’ or a global brand trying to ‘hijack’ the #BLM protest movement…. to sell soda). Sadly, the ‘Optics Of The Moment’ obsession can do more harm than good. Brands that misfire when trying to do the right thing may be ripped apart for trying but not nailing it. Trying badly is MUCH MORE costly than DOING NOTHING eg H&M improved their multicultural casting -a worthy aim- yet a lack of multicultural experiential savvy earned them rage (H&M ‘cute monkey’ kids shirt). Competitors, many of whom were way behind on multicultural casting, got a free pass!
In theory cellphones, active e-communities & instant global messaging could make companies/brands more transparent & accountable. In reality? People prefer bytes & pics to science & reading. They dislike complex info (science, data,..). Ethical ‘performance’ is a battle of speedy Optics tactics. The playbook: slipstream, divert, distract, make promises (that no one will follow up on when society moves onto the next ‘It-concern of the moment’).
Eg responsible scientists (unlike most Social Media Influencers & many reporters), seldom just label one approach Angelic & another Evil. A scientifically thorough, responsible way to evaluate 2 options’ total ecological impact is to compare them via a ‘Life Cycle Analysis’ which involves objectively measuring the resource drain, land & water pollution, nonrenewable /energy resources ‘cradle to grave’ of each option, incl. sourcing of component materials, transport to manufacturing & market, production, distribution, eventual disposal, etc. An objectively completed Life Cycle evaluation of cloth vs disposable diapers in 1990’s showed disposables were less ecologically burdensome than cloth, yet the story was too ‘sciency’ for the media to cover, or the public to read/comprehend.
I’d not be surprised if no Life Cycle review has been done for hybrid vs gas powered autos eg measuring (cradle to grave) the full environmental cost’ to mine & extract Rare Earth elements for batteries, review how the electricity is generated & how much energy is wasted eg lost in transmission or battery drain via cold weather, how to disassemble the batteries & neutralize their toxic corrosive materials, etc.
Optics are what sell & for the moment- Hybrids are GREEN! 😊. Governments & the public are falling over themselves to invest in them, force us to convert to them, lure their companies here, get taxpayer subsidies for the auto buyers & battery plants & auto assembly facilities & infrastructure builders …
Dare we even ask if a Life Cycle study exists? Nope, that’d draw immediate furor. A career-killing socially ostracizing move like that would certainly show we’re not remotely ‘Woke’ enough.