An innovative profession
The previous decade saw the creation of several innovative and glamorous professions and titles. Before the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992, only a few people could relate with what an 'environmental communicator' could be. However after the gathering of more than 100 heads of State in Brazil to support the environmental cause, it became clear that only professional communicators, with a specific knowledge about conservation, could handle and expose the green message.
Deeply concerned with environmental issues, Haroldo Castro worked at Conservation International (CI) from 1991 to 2006. "People will only support conservation if they first understand why we want to protect a particular area or species," assumes Castro. While at CI, Haroldo Castro leaded several awareness campaigns. His strategies and communication tools were key in pushing for the creation of the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in Peru, in stopping a Namibian pipeline in the Okavango Delta, and in blocking the Hydrovia project in the Pantanal.
In 1996, inspired by a meeting with creative directors of advertising agency J.W. Thompson, he created a methodology (the 4-P Workshop) to design communications strategies, which has since been applied in six languages in more than 15 countries. "The 4-P is a simple but extremely effective tool. It is the first step to get people together to support a particular conservation cause or campaign," says Haroldo. "If people are excited, they will participate, with their hearts and minds. It is the trigger for behavioral change."