Tuesday, 21 Sep 1999

PORTLAND, Ore.

We at the Green House Network have just learned a crucial lesson about the delegation of work: If you want something done a certain way, do it yourself.

We are fortunate to be bringing in the Honorable Lionel Hurst, ambassador to the U.S. from Antigua and Barbuda, for our benefit concert this Saturday. Ambassador Hurst is an outspoken critic of current U.S. climate change policy. Rising sea levels threaten to destroy his Caribbean island nation’s beaches and its important tourism industry, and ultimately the nation itself.

In organizing this aspect of our benefit concert, we have been working on public relations with a large media firm that coordinates efforts on global warming in Oregon. Three weeks ago, we met with people from the firm and they proposed all sorts of wonderful media events with Ambassador Hurst. They took charge and we felt confident that they would make sure to maximize the ambassador’s time by generating a substantial amount of publicity surrounding his visit.

Today, we are three days out from Ambassador Hurst’s visit and we find ourselves scrambling to create publicity because the media group has produced absolutely nothing. We entrusted them to set up a meeting with the Portland Oregonian‘s editorial board and interviews on radio shows and major local TV stations, and to help generate articles about Ambassador Hurst’s visit in papers throughout Oregon.

This is an embarrassing and compromising position for our fledgling network. In order to get global warming onto the radar screen of the public, we absolutely have to capitalize on any media opportunities. On top of this, how can we get other high-profile global warming experts to come to Oregon, strictly for expenses, when we fail to create a groundswell of momentum to inspire them while they are here? Reputation means everything.

So, we are scrambling with no lead time. What are we going to do?