Some decisions aren't hard to make. Saving the world is one of them.
The Climate Reality Project, founded by Al Gore, partnered with Mustache Agency to produce the World's Easiest Decision, a website meant to drive signatures to pressure leaders into taking climate negotiations in Paris seriously this week.
It doesn't look like your typical petition-hawking website. Developed by Tool of North America, it's easy on the eyes, filled with cute animations, tongue-in-cheek and to the point.
"Dear people of the world," it begins, "The world's biggest decision is coming up in December in Paris. That's a lot of pressure." You click on "Let's do this!" to advance, where a "scientific chart" asks you a super-simple question:
If yes, well hell, good news for you: All you have to do to push things in the right direction is sign a petition.
The site succeeds because it's free of political trappings and reduces issues down to one basic question (however existential): Do you like being alive? If yes, you have a vested interest in ensuring the planet continues to sustain life.
A slew of accompanying videos, each 24 seconds long—a wink to the Climate Reality Project's "24 Hours of Reality" (and our collective ADHD)—appeal to that vested interest from different angles. Like the website, they drive the point home with wit, inclusion and an irresistible pop-culture sensibility.
The first playlist, "The World's Easiest Decision," revolves around the classic old parlour game "Would Your Rather?" A diversity of contestants are placed between two TV screens and asked to choose between two scenarios: "Would you rather swim with fish in a colorful coral reef … or stare at a dead and bleached coral wasteland?"
Huh. Let's think about that one for a minute.
Next up, get a load of "Kids Explain It," which fans of Reddit's "Explain Like I'm Five" will relish. Whatever your standing in this battle, there's a kid ready to walk you through the basic sense of climate change: Even if you're a coked-up, Boiler Room-loving, bottom-line-oriented suit, a tiny girl at the start of this playlist has your number.
"Carbon to save, jobs to create … and so much f*cking money!" she shouts, before throwing bills into the air and going bananas.
For people who recognize the severity of our climate situation and feel justifiably helpless, there's "Good News News," a smart antidote to whatever's bumming you out on the 6 o'clock newsdesk. Get a 24-second skinny on the first-ever electric car highway in Australia, or Akon Lighting Africa, a project funded by the artist to bring education, jobs and electricity to African residents. Great for the feels, and such delightfully weird imagery!
Lastly, and for the more material among us, there's "For the Love Of…," which is kinda like Pablo Neruda's Ode to Common Things, but with a climate-related twist.
Can you imagine a world without guacamole … or sweaters? What did sweaters ever do but love you, jerks?
In short, life is full of complicated decisions. Here are just a few: The best long-term strategy for your career. How to balance work and play. Whether to start a family. How to raise children who aren't horrible humans who hate you and steal all your music. Which projects—and people—to commit your life to. And whether it will really benefit you to join Snapchat, stick it out through the learning curve, and make it to the other side, where a nirvana of non-stop ephemeral play awaits.
These dilemmas are legitimate and mind-consuming. You'll probably spend most of your life trying to feel your way toward the right answer, hoping to finish like Buffy (who, by the end of her show, succeeds in scaling local slayer success by unleashing an army of supergirl vampire-killers on the world), and not like Angel (who, despite his dithering and painstaking good intentions, ends up sending all of Los Angeles to hell—literally).
But some aren't difficult at all. Choosing a future that doesn't look like Mad Max is one of them. What's great about this campaign is that it talks to us in a way that's sly, smart and kind, all in the hope that by relating to us, we'll be driven to urgency. What's sad is that we require this kind of cajoling in the first place.
There are good reasons for our sluggish action; maybe the biggest is the seeming impotence of our anger in the face of our leaders, who basically laughed Gore out of the room in 2006 (nearly 10 years ago!) when he launched An Inconvenient Truth. According to Wired, they'll likely contribute to the emission of 300,000 tons of CO2 just for the COP21.
Let's hope it's worth it. Worse comes to worst, we can mobilize around the topic of guacamole extinction … or at the very least, do some of the things on this list.