TED Talk: A Small Country with Big Ideas to Leave Fossil Fuels Behind

This month, the global platform, TED, published the talk I gave at the TED summit in Banff, Canada. It was a fantastic opportunity to make the case for abolishing fossil fuels in Costa Rica in front of a global audience - and to see its domino effect in my country.

This month, the global platform, TED, published the talk I gave at the TED summit in Banff, Canada. Going to this summit and turning my talk into a video has been a fantastic opportunity to make the case for abolishing fossil fuels in Costa Rica. I see a positive "TED effect" at home already. It is unlikely our message would have received this level of interest in the absence of a global TED talk.

Winning the case for a fossil-free society calls for an extraordinary communications effort - this is where we are out-performed by the incumbent interests in the energy and transportation industries. They are often excellent at positive narratives make consumers, especially, stay cozy with high-polluting choices such a gas cars. They are also excellent at making greener, healthier alternatives look complex, expensive and impractical. The climate community is often too negative and pessimistic and In my view has failed - especially in Latin America - to win the hearts and minds of an increasingly middle-income soul.

So all of us working on these race to a zero-carbon society must be effective at making our case clear to citizens, companies, journalists and youth in 15 minutes or less. Leveraging the video culture is essential for climate communication. This is something we learned at the Oslo workshop by the IPCC on climate science communications (a workshop I followed with particular interest as a member of the organizing committee). For example, James Painter, a veteran journalist working at Oxford and a former BBC writer, gave a preview of the research he is conducting studying the coverage of new online outlets, such as VICE news, to the COP21 in Paris. It suggested that in a video-intensive culture attracting young audiences to the climate debate will requiere better uses of videos.

That is why TED works. In a few days, the video about Costa Rica had about 370,000 times (and the amount grows every day) something I could not have achieved with a paper that had the same content. In a few days, it was easy to get requests from journalists who had never paid attention to these issues before and who wanted to understand "how to help in spreading the message". It has been so revealing to also hear from people in the private sector who, inspired by a vision of society without fossil-fuels, got in touch to offer help. This encouraging reaction to the TED message seems to suggest that a captive audience is there waiting to be found. It is so exciting to discover this passion for a clean society.

If you would like to see the video please check this link:

If you would like to read my list of recommended readings see this link.

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