Assessing Public Response to Sustainability 101 Signage

A citizen science project



TUCSON (A-P) — The first 'fork in the road' for those with existential concerns for life on earth, including human, is deciding whether to work to 'turn things around' before industrial humans hit a biophysical wall (Plan A), or to work to prepare/preserve 'information packages for the contingency of restart after crashing' (Plan B).

Results: Pending, see below.

Conjecture: More than 1% of adult humans on the planet (>50 million) have 'sustainability' concerns and 0.1% of those (>50 thousand) might have 'ecolate' concerns if they knew what the concerns were. 'Sustainability' concerns will be assessed by changes in non-verbal behavior as virtually all humans could readily be maneuvered into agreeing that they have 'sustainability concerns'; some would just take more prompting to agree. This is likely why 'sustainability' makes such an attractive buzzword as virtually no one could be against it. A near infinity of maluable difinitions serves to allow people to feel good about what they continue to do. That the percentage of citizens favoring 'sustainability' would approach 99+% is a conjecture that could also be tested (and should be), but the claim is left as and exercise for the student. Of interest would be the percentage who didn't know what the word might mean or who initially said they did not favor sustainability and what definition provided forced them to admit they have 'sustainability concerns'.

The behavior measured includes pausing to read such signage as cannot be read while walking past and the number of those who stop to ask questions of or talk with 'protester' about 'sustainability'. The number taking a tab with URL information and going to website can also be measured. Those commenting on 'ecolate' pages of interest who evidence interest in and understanding of systems ecology can be assessed as having 'ecolate' concerns.

Ecolate/ecolacy: The endeavor to iterate towards understanding the dynamics of the world system through the macroscope of systems ecology to account for the complex interdependencies that underpin the natural environment and to consider the unintended consequences, short-term and long-term, of changing the system by asking, 'And then what?', so that we may come to have enough humans on the planet that really do understand it and can live with it properly.

Of 800,000 citizens (adults) in Tucson area, 8,000 may have 'sustainability' concerns (although the 'Envision Tucson Sustainable' organization does not have that many members). Thirteen percent may be 'reachable' via protesting and media coverage (mainstream and social), such that 1,000 having 'sustainability' concerns are 'reachable'. Of those, 0.1% (one person per one hundred thousand in total population or 10 people in Tucson area of which one may be 'reachable') may also have 'ecolate' concerns.

Assume one protester with a sign: signage seen by estimated 12 citizens per hour on average who could pause to read sign or speak to protester, so those passing in cars not included. Those who see 'Sustainability 101' while speeding past may be more likely to pause, however, should they become walkers by. So 12 citizens/hour x 1742 hours of protest = 20,904 people (figure 20k) or 60 per five hour day of 'protesting'. Some will be the same people, but assume the 12/hour are 12 different people. Based on three months of protesting, this estimate is close enough.

Assume media coverage before end of year of protest. Each reader would be equivalent to a passerby. There are about one million people in local area, of which 800,000 are old enough to consider message. Other limitations would apply, but 800,000 maximum and assume 10% are 'informed' by local media. So with media coverage, maybe 80,000 could be 'informed' that human 'sustainability' may be of concern. So figure a maximum of 100,000 people (80k + 20k seeing signage) in local area could be 'reached' by protesting for a year with media coverage to become aware of 'issues', or that 10% of total population are reachable. Assume 1% of the reachable are interested enough to look into (to 'think about') sustainability issues or use the word 'sustainability' in a sentence within the coming year as evidenced by pausing to read signage ('slight interest') and/or asking questions or commenting ('some interest'). 'Actual interest' would be indicated by taking URL, going to site and reading actual information those with an interest in 'sustainability issues' would want to read. 'Strong interest' would be indicated by at least reading the synopsis if not the book itself (expense of book could be a reason not to read it despite a strong interest though one year of protesting may get library system to get one or more copies). So somewhere between 250 to 1,000 citizens (aka the 1%) maximum reachable may have some interest/concerns.

Of those, how many (1% or ten people?) might read a book on the subject? Of those readers how many (10% or one person?) would share the 'ecolate' concerns of the citizen protester that are expressed on the website? Conjecture: 1 (or more) of 'reachable' of 10 citizens in area have 'ecolate' concerns. This is testable as those sharing 'ecolate' concerns would be in a small minority and would likely (p > .5) visit protester's website and contact the citizen protester to share concerns. An 'ecolate' person would never 'join' the Ecolate Party or support all of its platform, but would consider the platform and understand why each plank was 'thinkable' in terms of ecolate concerns. If the number is zero, then conjecture that 'there are other' adult humans on the planet (0.001% or >50,000) with 'ecolate' concerns is disconfirmed. The conjecture is that in the USA with 242,000,000 citizens of voting age, 2,420 have 'ecolate' concerns. The year of 'protesting' may provide evidence that there are twice as many, or 3x, or 4x... or 0.5x. It's a science thing: guess then test.

If one hundred fellow citizens in the local area express similar 'ecolate' concerns as evaluated by the 'protester', or 100 times more than expected, and then what? 'Unsustainability' implies end of empire, end 'of life as we humans know it' or species (human) extinction. If 100 citizens (of the 10% reachable) were to demonstrate vigorously enough such that all in the area were reached, then up to 1,000 'ecolate' humans might live in the area and be 'the 0.1%'. If less than one hundred people come forth, then a 0.1% estimate is too high. If only one hundred Tucsonians were to 'take to the streets' to demand 'sustainability now' then the 99.9% majority will overrule their concerns. Even if 50% of humans were concerned enough about existential threats to take decisive action, special interests opposed to such action could prevail per business-as-usual.

If 8,000 people in the Tucson area were willing to 'join' the Ecolate Party (support a platform based on real solutions), then what? What demands might the 1% make that would turn things around? In a democratic SYSTEM, the 1% with existential concerns would likely be of no matter. If 80,000, as the 10%, took to the streets in fervent protest, then what? Perhaps they could 'tweak' the SYSTEM to make tokin concessions such as in Boulder Colorado, Al Bartlett's home town, where the pace of growth/destruction may have been slowed down by some measureable extent that would not otherwise be noticeable to one flying over or driving around the area of rapid development.

Not all having existential concerns (e.g. preppers, survivalists, doomers) are 'ecolate', but all having ecolate concerns can think more than a few decades ahead and would consider existential threats, secondary to overshoot, to their descendants. The Euro-Sino Empire is not likely to last a thousand years, and in the ecolate view, the two to three hundred years it has lasted is not impressive. Some unsustainable empires lasted over a thousand years. What happens when the first global empire, by far the biggest with the potential to fall the hardest, plays out its endgame should be of concern.

         Results*: Day 1 to 30                                                  #           %
Estimated passersby 2,124 ---
Pausers (slight interest) 80 3.8
Speakers (some interest) 23 1.1
URL Tab Takers (actual interest) 13 0.6
Reading synopsis/book (strong interest) 1 0.05
Ecolate Concerns (ecolate interest) 1 0.05
*the data


         Results*: Day 31 to 60                                                  #           %
Estimated passersby 2,304 ---
Pausers (slight interest) 35 1.5
Speakers (some interest) 11 0.5
URL Tab Takers (actual interest) 3 0.13
Reading synopsis/book (strong interest) 1 0.04
Ecolate Concerns (ecolate interest) 0 0
*the data


         Results*: Day 61 to 90                                                  #           %
Estimated passersby 2,316 ---
Pausers (slight interest) 23 1.0
Speakers (some interest) 15 0.6
URL Tab Takers (actual interest) 6 0.26
Reading synopsis/book (strong interest) 0 0.00
Ecolate Concerns (ecolate interest) 0 0
*the data


         Results*: Day 91 to 120                                                  #           %
Estimated passersby 1,356 ---
Pausers (slight interest) 14 1.03
Speakers (some interest) 7 0.5
URL Tab Takers (actual interest) 1 0.07
Reading synopsis/book (strong interest) 0 0.00
Ecolate Concerns (ecolate interest) 0 0
*the data


         Results*: Day 121 to 150                                                  #           %
Estimated passersby 2,760 ---
Pausers (slight interest) 15 0.5
Speakers (some interest) 12 0.4
URL Tab Takers (actual interest) 2 0.07
Reading synopsis/book (strong interest) 0 0.00
Ecolate Concerns (ecolate interest) 0 0
*the data

         Cumulative Results*: Day 1 to 150                               #           %
Estimated passersby (assuming 12/hour average) 10,800 ---
Pausers (slight interest) 157 1.5
Speakers (some interest) 68 0.7
URL Tab Takers (actual interest) 25 0.2
Reading synopsis/book (strong interest) 2 0.02
Ecolate Concerns (ecolate interest) 1 0.009
Total hours of 1,742 905 52
*the data


And why am I 'protesting'? It's an ecolacy thing.


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