Spread the Cause: train your argumentation skills!

My last blog entry is not directly linked to our course on Sustainability Marketing, because I thought what follows is the most relevant thing I have to say tonight.

It all began with an Economist article a friend of mine shared on Facebook a few days ago. The article discussed a recent decision in the European Parliament regarding the EU’s emission trading scheme (ETS). I read the article with interest, but it was only when I browsed through the first few comments when the fun began 🙂

It started with a lengthy comment of a certain Mervyn Sullivan on why the IPCC is wrong about anthropogenic climate change. 17 minutes later an interesting discussion spun out of it when the Sense Seeker’s first response challenged the thread starter’s reasoning. Some others joined in, but in the end it became a heated debate between Rob S who pretty much followed Mervyn’s line and Sense Seeker who did not.

I usually like to reply to other people’s comments to news articles, mostly because I think their argumentation is complete nonsense (but still taken seriously by other readers) or when I discover false facts. But most of the time my interaction is limited to my local newspaper’s webpage, where there is a 400 character limit and the level of reasoning is mediocre at best.
But here, on the Economist page, many people actually had something to say that was worth to be considered, not just throwing in unfounded claims but backing it up with evidence!

This was intriguing to me, so I decided to help Sense Seeker against Rob’s mostly intelligent but unfortunately also misguided train of thought, so I thought. I started with a very lengthy comment of my own, taking up Rob’s arguments of how climate change is irrelevant and all action taken against it is just a big waste of money. The ensuing discussion went back and forth and I realised that I had never argued with somebody who was so well informed on the topic.

I am really enjoying the discussion we are having at the moment. Some of his arguments are actually pretty solid and I am having a hard time countering them. But this exactly provides me with something I lack: practice in discussing sustainability issues with well-informed critics. I consider making this world a more sustainable place my life goal, be it in business or maybe also politics. But without experience in discussing these particular issues, I won’t get far. So I will try to read more Economist articles and participate in the discussions thereon. Maybe I will be even able to convince some people of my ideas or at least broaden their horizons, while at the same time getting some food for thought myself! And this would actually be a reward in itself…


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