View Full Version : How can we influence " Public Opinion" ?

05-23-2012, 05:26 PM
We the fishermen, the crabbers, the folks that care about the bay have a public awareness and public apathy problem. In general the public is not aware of the problems that are facing the bay, and the ecosystems in the Bay. Since the public is not aware of the problems, the public is not concerned about the situation. I am not trying to be unkind, or disrespectful toward the public. I am sensing that we have failed to convince the public that there is a problem.

We who are on the water a lot, see what is happening. We see the pollution, the poaching.
We fear the effect [s] of the loss of the forage fish [ menhaden and others ]. I do not personally know a lot about the technical details of how the loss of menhaden is and will hurt the bay. I believe those that say that the rockfish and the estuary are being starved. I believe those that say that all these puzzle pieces are related in some way.

With all due respect to everyone concerned, I suggest that we have a public sensitivity problem.
I suggest that we have a public awareness problem. We are probably not getting our message out.
What do you think? Feel free to post a reply, Your opinion is as good as any.

How can we do better? How can we be more successful?

What have other “ Concerned Citizens Groups “ done?
Have any “ Concerned Citizens Groups “ [ EVER ] been successful ?

They say that the pen is mightier than the Sword. Ghandi believed that. George Washington picked up the sword.
“ Mothers against Drunk Driving ” have/ has used Political and Public Awareness to create a strong pressure, on folks that VIOLATE driving laws. Those Ladies, have truthfully improved our state. Rather a good thing!!
Who would have predicted that the MOTHERS, could have such a strong effect??
Who would have predicted that India would ever have broken the shackles of the British Empire??
Who would have predicted that there would be a free election in Egypt today??
Who would have Predicted that there would be a wide international meeting [ In Baghdad of all places ] about the proliferation of Nuclear Technology , [ and Iran's threat to the region ].

Are there any lessons here / there for us / we who care about the Bay?

I just happened to see a documentary on the “history 2" channel regarding a very successful public awareness program.
Dr. Martin Luther King had a very serious public support problem. He was trying to get recognition for his people. He was trying to develop support for his cause. No one had been successful elevating the legal and social status of the African Americans, in 100 years. However one brilliant AMERICAN politician did create a program to get recognition and improve the status for his people.

He started out with nonviolent “marches” and “demonstrations”. He did a fifty mile walk to the State Capitol. That was a symbolic act of civil “concern”. If King had marched 50 miles by himself no one would have cared but he marched with 25,000 of his brothers and sisters.
It was news worthy and people sat up and took notice. How far is it from Baltimore to Annapolis?

He King also had non violent civil demonstrations in other places, and Washington D.C.

Thomas Paine, and Martin Luther King had ideas and dreams. They stood up. They acted. They published.

King got killed in Memphis Tennessee while he was involved in a march to support the sanitation workers. His marches and speeches were designed to bring attention to racial injustice. They also were designed to focus on poverty, unfair housing, unfair employment issues. Mr. King was a dedicated political genius. He knew how to get to his goal and he was persistent.

Sadly he lost his life in pursuit of the goal. In the long run, in the big picture King got to his goal, he did change the United States of America and he was successful. I would highly recommend that anyone that wants to learn how to influence public opinion and influence legislators and governors see this documentary called “King”.
“ Tom Brokaw 40th anniversary celebrating Dr. King”.
I recently published some letters, and addresses regarding creating some publicity, and some political letters about a new public " Boat Ramp" for the people. " AA county boat ramp Fort Smallwood" . My impression is that only a few letters went out.
Thanks to those who did respond. Perhaps I am wrong, Perhaps Many Letters and emails went out.
Please respond + or {-} to this post. Thank you.
Tell me what you think. Thank you.
Thomas Granger tomglenburnie

06-03-2012, 11:38 AM
Well Tom,It seems you are shifting a little.The bay crisis is caused by much more than a few poachers.I am happy to see you are exploring more possibilities of the demise/decline in health of such a critical body of water.I think awareness is everything! For years those sorry SOB's at the Chesapeake Bay foundation were collecting money any way they could,didnt do squat for the health of the bay but made the mass public think they were and it was getting better.Here is an idea.File a lawsuit against them to recoup the money they collected over the years and spend it on a real public awareness campaign based on facts not hype.

Tom Powers
06-04-2012, 02:32 PM
The real key to a getting letters, emails, etc. relating to any topic is to get a list of folks who care and will actually do something. Back around 2001 Rob Holtz, Bob Allen, and a few others including me, got an email list of concerned anglers, we did it under the CCA umbrella. At one time the list was up to about 1200 people. Many of those folks were tidal fish subscribers. On a hot topic we could get several hundred emails and letters sent in. On a not so hot topic we could usually get 25 or 50 folks to respond. We also sent out reports about what was going on at VMRC (this was before the posted audio clips of their meetings) as well as in the legislature and ASMFC.

That list fell into disuse, many of the addresses grew stale, and a new one was generated by CCA after there was a change in many of the volunteers. They still maintain the list and send out alerts.

The key is to build up a list of folks that are willing to take 15 minutes every month or two and actually make the calls, write the letters or send the emails.

BTW CBF is one organization that has filed suit against the EPA, a number of companies and state agencies to address pollution. A quick google brings up the following.