J500 Media and the Environment

Environmentalism, NOW! by kimwallace
February 6, 2008, 1:44 pm
Filed under: Business + Politics | Tags: , ,

“The arrogance here is that environmentalists ask not what we can do for non-environmental constituencies but what non-environmental constituencies can do for environmentalists. As a result, while public support for action on global warming is wide it is also frighteningly shallow.”

This particular paragraph made me stop while I was reading “The Death of Environmentalism.” It made me think back to Focus the Nation, when the panelists kept going on and on about what green habits each of them has adopted to “make the world a better place.”

Though I applaud each of them for their efforts outside the workplace (someone spoke of wanting his next car to be a hybrid, and another spoke of taking 2-minute showers), I am more interested in the efforts inside the workplace—i.e., the Kansas Legislature—that will become the norm, if not the law, for the whole state. Sure, everyone is interested in preserving the environment and cleaning up what waste has accrued, but when? When will environmentalism top the list, as the authors point out in their speech, of things to worry about?

I feel as though my skepticism is in line with that of the authors’. For this speech to have ruffled as many feathers as it did, you have to wonder: Why were people so taken aback? Is it because what these two said was right?

The biggest problem with the environmental movement is that there will be no immediate solutions or instantaneous results from our efforts. It took years of human pollution to take a toll on Mother Earth—now it’s going to take years of human action to reverse the effects. But we, as a people, are a NOW, NOW, NOW society that counts on miracle solutions to problems that take time to fix (think about all the insane things people do to themselves to lose weight!).

Environmentalists need to align with lawmakers to tackle this problem more efficiently. That means 1) no more blame game (we are all humans—we all contributed to this—it’s not a one party vs. the other things) 2) surrender to the dollar (make it evident how going green/saving the world will put more money in your pocket—in the long run, of course).



6 Comments so far
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I completely agree with your opinions on this essay. We, as a society, created this problem. It will take time and money to correct it,yes, but making our environment a better place is clearly worth it.

Today’s society is one of new technology and yes, we all have the “NOW, NOW, NOW” frame of mind. What this article is saying is why don’t we use these new ideas and come up with a re-vamped strategy? It couldn’t hurt.

Sarah Nelson

Comment by snelson33

I agree. We need a better plan and the commitment to a plan to make it work. I think we need our lawmakers/journalists/activist groups/number crunchers to give a timeline to people so that they understand how what they do now will affect change in the long run. It’s hard to put it in perspective when there’s nothing to compare it with.

Kim Wallace

Comment by kimwallace

I would certainly agree with what you are saying, Kim. I was also very impressed during Focus the Nation at the efforts these panelists were making in their everyday lives. It was sort of touching hearing the personal side, too. Although, what is really important is what they are doing within the Legislature to actually make an impact. I’m sure it will take much time to see the efforts that will hopefully become the norm of our society.

Dena H

Comment by denah

Love your critique of FTN as well as what you are saying about NOW! The interesting thing is, when environmentalists start to beat the drum and say we at least need to kick things up a notch now, folks seem reluctant to act (how’s that for a series of gross generalizations?). Thoughts?

Simran Sethi

Comment by j500

I think it’s the way in which environmentalists communicate the message. Yes, we need to do something—kick it up a notch—but tell me how. What steps do I need to take? Who do I need to talk to in order to get this thing moving? Where is the strategic plan? You can have all kinds of ideas and plans, but if there is no authority/power figure behind your movement, then…there is no movement. We need believable, honest people who walk the walk and talk to talk to get people mobilized for change, and get the people who are skeptical to really believe.

Kim Wallace

Comment by kimwallace

I thought FTN was a huge disappointment. “I am thinking about buying a Hybrid.” Give me a break. That’s not taking action, that is politicing to a crowd of eco minded people. I didn’t hear any sound approaches to tackling the problems. I heard, “I did this one tiny thing, and there is a lot more to do.” We know there is a lot to do. We want solutions. If the discussion of politicians was no better than what we in class have, are we ever going to get anywhere? I feel like we are the ones to debate and try to find solutions, they better act on those plans. Right now, no one has a plan.

Adam B

Comment by acbowman

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