J500 Media and the Environment


Future of Environmentalism by sachikom
February 3, 2008, 9:51 pm
Filed under: Society + Media

I disagree with the death of environmentalism. We could act better to prevent the crisis. But I believe environmentalism has been only improving. It’ll be the next generation that will make a big change. Our job is to raise awareness and make a basis so that our future generations can work on the problem smoothly.

I think people’s awareness of global warming or the environment is much higher than twenty or thirty years ago. For example, more people recycle material today. According to the KU Environmental Stewardship Program Web site, it developed the KU Recycling to reduce waste in 1996. Also, last year, I had a chance to talking with the principal of Southwest Junior High. She said children at Southwest are much more aware of recycling than when she was a child.

As the Sierra Club Web site explains, people who’re skeptical of environmentalists might say, “The leadership of the environmental movement, overall, are a bunch of narrowly focused and politically blinded policy wonks – individually smart but collectively stupid.” Each individual’s action, like recycling, using florescent lights and not eating meat, cannot make a big difference. But the important thing is to raise awareness. Children, who’ve learned about global warming, will grow up and change the society. They should be more aggressive to protect the environment. I hope the administration and businesses will have much more understandings toward the environment in the future.

Although we might be more aware of the environment than our parents or grandparents, Elizabeth Schultz, who created a fund for environmental projects in Douglas County, told me something important. She worries young people today know less and less about the natural world. They are afraid of insects, frogs and snakes. They have never grown their own vegetables. Some of them depend on fast food and plastic bottles. They could not imagine a life without a heater or air conditioning. She said, those children “have very little understanding of what it means to live a sustainable life.” When I heard about that, I thought that is me. I grew up in a big city. I’d never really had a “sustainable life,” nor thought about why the earth is so important to us. I learned from her that not only to educate people about global warming, it’s also important to remind people that we’re living with the nature. The earth is not just for humans.

I’m optimistic. Nothing can be too late. Our efforts seem useless to those critics. But we’ll be a bridge to the future of environmentalism. I believe the future will be bright for the environment.

By Sachiko Miyakawa

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2 Comments so far
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Sachiko, What a hopeful post. Your comments about getting out into the natural world are extremely important – we can’t miss what we don’t know. Or can we? Why feel sympathy for polar bears we’ve never met? Is media a sufficient bridge to understanding our natural world when we can’t get our hands into the dirt (so to speak)?

Simran Sethi

Comment by j500

Many of us should have some experiences in the nature. Good media tell a story through connecting their contexts to the audience and making them feel sympathy.
Another way of telling a story is through images or videos. When I first saw the picture of a dried lake in India on Time, I was very shocked. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2965644.stm (this is the lake picture from BBC) Visuals have power to move people.

Other pictures:
Jakarta floods from International Herald Tribune: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/02/04/news/floods.php

Drought in Kenya, taken by Evelyn Hockstein, http://www.evelynhockstein.com/ :

Sachiko

Comment by sachikom




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