Do You Believe Me?
I identify with environmental groups, peace activists and other groups devoted to noble causes. Unfortunately, sometimes some of these groups make statements that challenge credibility.
I think it's critical that we avoid the precipice of incredulity by adhering to some guidelines such as the following.
*** Stay cool! Maintain an emotional tone that conveys the message "I'm not speaking out of reckless anger. I'm in control. I've checked my facts!". Anger can be good because it motivates us to action but anger can be a barrier to communication and credibility. Get angry, get calm, get the facts and get to work!
*** Cite references. Credibility has nothing to hide. Give me the opportunity to check the facts. For example, a recent article (http://www.alternet.org/envirohealth/26077/) states that a rapist in Ohio received a much more lenient sentence than an environmental activist in California who destroyed some property "after taking precautions to harm no lives." Give me more details so I can research this. Better yet, give me the details of a reference -- the newpaper and date, the website, etc -- so I can find it quickly.
*** Avoid exageration. Initially, I'll accept your facts and apply my own logic to them. Hopefully, I'll arrive at the same conclusion that you're presenting -- but, I may not. If you tell me that some developer in Colorado is destroying a prarie dog colony and this will lead to the end of western civilization then, in my opinion, your credibility has developed a crack. I'm not arriving at the same conclusion.
The world is not perfect and never will be but we have a responsbility to work for change. Our efforts to work for positive change will be limited and perhaps fail if we don't protect our credibility.