J500 Media and the Environment


Going green is people! by jseverin

sustainability

When I wrote my first piece for this site, I had little experience with blogs and had certainly never written a blog post. I had a definite aversion to journalists due to way too many misquotes and misrepresentations in the local papers. And although I have worked in the environmental field for over 7 years, I wasn’t sure just how to reach people that weren’t already part of the choir.

Three months later I am starting to get the hang of things. I’m no pro, but I think I’m starting to find my voice in the blogosphere and discovering the tremendous impact this sort of dialog can have. In the process of reading, watching, listening to, and discussing environmental media, I have learned to appreciate journalists for the difficult task they have to present a balanced and unbiased picture of what’s going on in the world and the huge responsibility that comes with that. Most importantly, I have learned that there is no magic message that is going to help put an end to our environmental woes.

I suppose I knew that all along, and it always bothered me. But the conversation we have engaged in over the past several weeks amongst ourselves and with others from around the globe has put that once disappointing realization into a positive light.

Something Adam Werbach mentioned during our discussion with him on April 24 really resonated with me. He pointed out that in an effort to solve our planetary problems, environmentalists have ignored the challenges that people face in their own lives by focusing on a “new exotic challenge of saving the world”. (My apologies if I misquoted you, Adam.) In other words, it isn’t just about this one overarching problem, but all the individual pieces of that problem. We all have a role to play in creating a more sustainable future, and that means something different to everyone. The goal is to find what that something is.

As the authors of this blog went around the room trying to define “sustainability” this week, it was evident that environmentalism isn’t about polar bears, rain forests, CFLs, wind turbines, organic food, chemical-free products, or all the green “stuff” that is starting to show up on magazine pages and The Oprah Winfrey Show (sorry, Simran).

It’s people. It is people forming relationships with each other, with the environment, with local farmers, and with the processes that bring all that “stuff” into their homes. It is people understanding and re-establishing the forgotten relationships, which probably got us into this mess in the first place. It is people – whether part of the choir or not -communicating with each other to help create the best planet we possibly can. Whether we call it Green, Blue, environmentalism, or sustainability, it is still about people.

It has been an honor writing with and learning from all the people involved in this conversation, and I look forward to continuing the dialog. Afterall, we still have to go about the dirty work of saving the world.

- Jeff Severin




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