J500 Media and the Environment

Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything’s right. by denah
January 21, 2008, 3:49 pm
Filed under: Society + Media

My initial reaction to the Ecological Footprints Quiz went something like this…My overall score of 18 made me feel confident in my efforts towards being a “wanna be” enviornmentalist. Considering the average in America was a score of 24, I felt good. I knew that there were still some lifestyle choices (such as eating lots of meat and traveling by airplane often to get to my home in Chicago) that would alter my overall consumption. I continued down the page to find that if I continued with the lifestyle I am living now (easing my way into being a conscious consumer), there would need to be 4.1 worlds. That is when my smile turned upside down. I was disappointed to think that my efforts were not good enough, even though I was putting in so much more effort than my family and friends. I realized that there is more than one way of looking at this situation.

I started to think about how much people like me (some enviornmentalist, some carnviore/travel junky) were really impacting the world. I am starting to realize that my efforts alone are not going to make this world stronger, but that it is necessary to seek that collective and corporate action out there that could impact and influence others.

On the contrary, I believe that my efforts are a lot more apparent living in Lawrence as opposed to living in Chicago (where I am from.) I can definitely say for myself that I drive everywhere at home and tend to be a lot less aware of my everyday decisions regarding the enviornment. That only proves that being with others who are enviornmentally friendly only makes me want to be more like that as well. It shows that collective action is whats going to influence our nation and the world.

As I think about my efforts compared to those around me, I think one of the biggest problems we have is awareness and just an overall understanding of what is happening to our planet. Words like global warming and sustainability are not understood by many around our nation and our world.

Dena Hart


2 Comments so far
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While it is true that individual efforts have a small impact, as you point out when people are around environmentally-conscious individuals, they are almost guilt tripped into also considering the environment, either that or making fun of their companion and, thus, being a jerk. At the same time, it is totally necessary to build a community and network to put together larger movements that can have a stronger impact. If you’re interested in ones around Lawrence, look into the Lawrence Sustainability Network (LSN) – they work as an umbrella group for several environmental organizations around town for projects ranging from prairie conservation to alternative transportation to organic farming.

Jennifer Kongs

Comment by jkongs

Jennifer, You are on to something here. So does that guilt-tripping work? How do we convey our messages in ways that are inspirational, transformational or fill-in-your-blank? Take a look at this NYT article on the reasons why people buy green products. What do you think?

Simran Sethi

Comment by j500

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