A vague title such as "The Rainforest Club" had been passing through the minds of some of the people who had had an entertaining evening a few days earlier when they had discussions on rainforest issues in a school hall one evening.
The entertainment was in a few twists and turns provided by the participants while discussing the various rainforest issues. The final entertainment was in celebrating Patrick Simpson’s birthday.
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Kathy, Susie, Stuart Wilson, Bill Anderson and Patrick Simpson were among those who met later on to work out their future activities.
The understanding among them was to first form an association, which they had tentatively named as the "Rainforest Club".
Next action was to create a broad outline of the steps to be taken to:
1) Create awareness about rainforest issues in their neighborhood.
2) To find out how the people of the community can be motivated to take all steps to save rainforests.
For this purpose the people must be encouraged to become members of the Rainforest Club they decided.
They invited all those who had attended the previous meeting to another meeting to initiate the formation of the Rainforest Club and start the proceedings in right earnest.
Kathy and Susie were the initial speakers to start the procedure. They spoke alternatively:
"Our mission is very clear. We have a two-pronged strategy".
"The first part is - 'Try to understand the rainforest issues'.
The second part is - 'Save the rainforests'.
But the more important aspect is the complexity of the rainforest issues. As we had seen the last time, they cannot be explained in a simple paragraph or two".
"We have to meet the people on a continuous basis and talk to them on the rainforest issues, clarify all the relevant points and persuade them to make their contributions on a day-to-day basis and...
...motivate them to take positive action in their daily activities towards the aim of saving the rainforests for the sake of the future generations".
"If we simply tell them about the seriousness of the after effects of destruction of the rainforests and make an appeal to them to conserve the rainforests, the impact will be no better than that of the warnings about the dangers of smoking on cigarette packets.
Such warnings have been there for decades on the cigarette packets, did they make the smokers give up smoking?
Only recently awareness about the dangers of smoking have been realized by the smokers and they are trying to give up the habit.
So how we do that?"
After a few rounds of discussions, they decided on the following initial steps:
Their association will be known as The Rainforest Club.
By formally making this announcement, they informed the invited audience about the proposed association, about which they had heard a few times in the past few days.
It will be a community working to save the rainforests of the world.
They will enroll volunteers for the club to meet people on a continuous basis to spread awareness about the importance of the rainforest issues.
They will meet from time to time to discuss about the future course of action.
Kathy and Susie will be the persons updating the club on rainforest issues.
Bill Anderson will give guidelines and ideas from the psychological angle and Stuart Wilson will give inputs on management issues.
Then someone from the audience asked them “What will be the role of Pat Simpson?” which evoked immediate laughter.
Kathy and Susie joined in the laughter and Susie said, “He will contribute where his strengths will create the maximum impact”.
After a pause, she continued, “He will try to bring out the various rainforest issues as plays to be presented to the people. After all you had seen how effective he had been last time”.
Again there was laughter and an appreciative applause from them.
Some one asked Susie tongue-in-cheek, “Can he bring out a play on every issue?”
This was followed by loud laughter from some members of the audience.
Kathy smiled and said, “May not be possible always and it may not be necessary also. But if it is possible to do so, he will do it”.
Bill Anderson stood up and said, “For any issue there will always be different responses from the general public.
One set of people will be receptive to the issues, there will be another group of people who will oppose the issues and there will be a third group who will be neutral.
Further in each group, there will be a difference in the depth of the feelings, some will be very strong and the others will be very weak with the balance of the people falling in between the two extremes. This applies to all the three groups seen above.
So our first task is to identify the different groups of people and the depth of their feelings. This will enable us to present our strategies appealing to the particular groupsin a meaningful way to them”.
Some one asked him, “OK, so you identify some group of people as very strongly opposed to your initiatives and are not willing to take action as suggested by us, what will be your response? How will you convert them to your point of view to save the rainforests?”
Bill said, "First of all they will be enrolled as members of the Rainforest Club, if they had not joined it already".
Then after a big smile he added, “I will then have to take the help of Pat only in such circumstances. If you remember in the last meeting, when most of you were angry, how he doused your anger within a matter of seconds?” and laughed out loudly.
But this time the response from the audience was not encouraging as some people said seriously, “We cannot expect every one to be tickled by his histrionics every time..”
Before they could complete the sentence, Bill said still smiling, “Don’t worry, that was said in a lighter vein only”.
He continued seriously, “But sometimes humor works out very well in neutralizing the other parties’ anger and opposition. What I meant to say was that we the rainforest club members should see to it that every possible angle is looked into so as achieve our aim".
Then some one asked about the contribution of Stuart Wilson. How will his knowledge help the rainforest club members in their mission.
Wilson spoke briefly stating that as a management man, he would assist Bill in formulating the club's plans. Psychology will be a better subject to understand the people's thinking he opined.
He continued, "After all we are not going to run a business enterprise, wondering where will our customers be, what will be our profit, market segmentation and all that".
"It will be mostly a voluntary effort. But everything costs money and time. So my first aim is to work out the tentative time tables for our mission along with their costs after knowing what approach Bill will be presenting to us".
|Bill continued, "Making plans is one thing. Getting results is another thing. There is every possibility that our plans will work out much slower than planned or may not work out at all. We may feel discouraged during such times".|
"So I propose to invite successful people from various fields to talk about their experiences, how did they work out their plans and how did they succeed in their missions in our rainforest club".
"From such inputs, not only our confidence will get a boost, but we may also get a tip or two for our own work".
After some more discussions the first meeting of the members of the rainforest club came to an end with the understanding that they would meet again after a few days.
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