J500 Media and the Environment

If Lyle Lovett and Rod Stewart are…then why not the environment? by shemme
February 11, 2008, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Hmm, let’s see, how do I sex up environmentalism? I think an experiment is in order! Yes, a sexy experiment, indeed.

I called up a few friends and read the following two sentences aloud to them:

As the long shaft of the big black coal plant’s stack penetrates the womb of Mother Nature, the goddess shudders. She’s definitely hot and bothered, but not in a good way.

My boyfriend: Wow, that was raunchy. (Laughing)

Me: Does that mean anything to you?

My boyfriend: It’s humorous. It makes you pay attention more. (Smiles)

Female Friend 1: Wow..sounds dirty! (Laughs to point of not being able to breathe)

Female Friend 2: (Silence) Uh… read it again. (I read it again) So, basically the coal plant is raping the earth and Mother Nature? Yeah, that’s interesting. (Giggles)

Male Friend 3: (Silence) Uh, ok. (Long pause) Sounds like a metaphor for pollution, like the environment is getting raped…by the coal plants. (Starts giggling) I definitely smell what you’re steppin’ in.

Maybe this isn’t quite the approach that most environmentalists would take in order to “sex up” environmentalism, but hey, it seemed to work. They all got the message, right?

I’m guessing that what Ahh-nold meant was that we need to make going green attractive to mainstream America. We know that sex sells, but can it sell ideas and new habits? Sex seems to really sell booze, clothing, most commercial products, cars, perfume, vacations and concert tickets. Can sex sell recycling, biodiesel, and eco-architecture? (Check out the links, because some are definitely giving it a try.)

And just for fun, you gotta watch these videos:

Please be aware that the video below is somewhat graphic:

For anyone who has ever made a video starring their Grandma:

A student group at the University of Washington attempts “Sustainability is Sexy” here:

At last! The super sexy organic energy drink we’ve all be waiting for!

Somebody somewhere is probably “peaking” just watching this:

Ok, I guess that’s probably enough videos. I guess my point is that we’re trying to be sexy, but we’re just not there yet.



My Little (Dog’s) Sexy Poo by jenh
February 11, 2008, 8:11 pm
Filed under: Waste + Recycling | Tags: , ,

Don’t LaughYou want sexy? Well, here’s a topic that’s way overdue for a sexy makeover: pet poo. This is an environmental issue – no, really. Here’s what brought it to mind. There I was, bundled up like a six-year-old sent out to go sledding, head down into the gale North wind, a leash pulling my arm outward. At the end of the leash, my geriatric canine Millie took her dainty sweet time puttering along the sidewalk, exchanging “messages” with every other dog whose owner took leisurely strolls in 10 degree February weather. In winter, these messages manifest as yellow snow. We arrived at a fateful yard, where last summer my neighbor posted a sign that said in the polite but firm tones Kansans are known for, “Clean up after your dog. It’s a city ordinance (and it’s neighborly!)” The day he put up the sign, he nodded to me and said, “Present company excluded, of course.” Yes, I clean up after my dog. It’s my good neighborly duty to whip out a plastic bag, one of the billions we throw our groceries in every day. The problem is, being neighborly isn’t exactly environmental. I go all Woody Allen Annie-Hall-neurotic about it: I should clean it up, because it’s gross to leave excrement on someone’s lawn, what if they have kids that go running barefoot on the lawn even though it’s February and what parent would do that anyway, won’t my neighbors talk about me and whisper there goes the girl who doesn’t clean up after her dog…. But then I’m thinking about all those plastic bags, twice a day, into my trash bin and off to the landfill, how they pile up….etc.
But that kind of guilt for cleaning up dog poo is that same enviro guilt that Arnold Schwarzenegger is talking about when he says we need to sex up environmentalism. So, how do I come up with a way of dealing with poo that is sexy? Clean it up with a scooper and dispose of it at home? Impractical, and besides, the celebs would never buy into it (and who else but celebrities with pets can tell us what is or isn’t sexy?). Use biodegradable bags by DKNY and Prada? Unlikely they decompose.
And so, I give you: the poo butler service. Think of the glamour: someone comes to your home, disposes of the waste, puts it in worm bins to turn into some kind of compost – what could be more sexy than that. No mess, no fuss. If only all environmental problems were so easy to dispose of!

One further note on comedy (with apologies to the far superior Ranjit): see Science is Hard, a parody by The Onion, and a great collection/overview of climate change cartoons. –Jen Humphrey

Green is the new sexy by Sarah
February 11, 2008, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Society + Media

I have to hand it to Arnold. Not only did he find a way to go from a greased up bodybuilder to the Governor of California; but he hit the nail right on the head when he used “sexy” and “the environment” in the same sentence. As Americans, we know that sex sells, so why not sex-up being green?

I think Arnold had the right idea. While searching for sites about this topic, I came across this cool Web site: Ecorazzi. I found myself browsing it for at least an hour! It is chalk full of links and articles that link the environment with mainstream media – part of what Arnold was suggesting. It discusses topics such as celebrities, fashion, events and shopping – while keeping the overall focus on being green.

They report on events that are environmentally focused – and most importanly, they are intersting to ME. For instance, on January 31st, some of the most famous fashion designers, like Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, and Bottella Venega participated in the EarthPledge Future Fashion Show that kicked off Fasion Week in the New York. They created fashions using natural and sustainable materials. Models strutted down the runway in materials such as organic cotton and bamboo. That’s hot – and sexy. In our world, even the “fashionistas” can go green.

Absolut, a premium vodka with a seductive image, has recently partnered with Live Earth to “reduce the effects of global warming by offering simple steps they can implement in their daily lives.” Number one: Drink heavily. You’ll drive less, sleep more, and basically reduce your overall consumption of the world’s resources. With the familiar print ads we all recognize, and the tag line “Absolut Global Cooling,” I think it’s a catchy campaign and shows exactly how we can angle the environmental movement in a unique and sexy way.

-Sarah Nelson

Back from the Future: 2050 by rarab

Okay, a brief explanation: After posting the candidates’ environmental policies, I was pretty disappointed to discover that even the ones I like had pretty tame recommendations when it came to curbing carbon emissions. The two most progressive candidates on this issue call for a reduction of 80% from 1990 levels by the year 2050. 2050?!! Are you kidding me? I’ll be, like, 80 years old… but on the positive side, by my calculations, I should be close to finishing my master’s by then.

Anyway, depressed and disappointed, I did what any normal human would do: I travelled through time. Not into that, you say? Well, it’s actually quite easy these days–all you need is an exercise bike, a flux capictor, and lots of Guinness Stout.

With that in mind, I was able to return with a newspaper article announcing the achievement of this environmental goal, so here it is:


President Announces Reduction of Carbon Emissions
EMPORIA, Kan. (AP)—President Miley Cyrus held an impromptu press conference today in the Office Max Oval Office of the Home Depot White House—Home Depot, where no project is too big or too small—to announce that These Remaining United States (TRUSA) had finally reached its goal of reducing carbon emission by 80 percent from the 1990 levels, a plan set in place by President Barack Obama just two years before The Big Catastrophe.

“Dudes, this totally rocks,” President Cyrus said. “I only wish that the good people of the eastern and western coast lines were around to celebrate this monumental accomplishment.”

To commemorate the return to 1990s levels, Cyrus unveiled plans for a national day of remembrance, where citizens would be asked to dress as their favorite characters from 1990s history, a move that is certain to boost sales of flannel shirts and berets. The president also mentioned that “I Like Big Butts” will be the official song for the national holiday.

“Personally, I’m going to dress up as some woman named Courtney Love,” Cyrus said. Then, in a throaty voice, she delivered her best impression: “Someday you will ache like I ache…”

Vice President Hannah Montana, meanwhile, did not make an appearance at the news conference, but aides assure us she will be on hand for the American Idol State of the Union concert. It has been speculated that Montana will observe “’90s Day” as either one of the Right Said Fred guys or perhaps as RuPal.

When asked by reporters why the reductions were still significant, Cyrus removed her self-contained breathing apparatus, and took in a deep breath—an action that was met with a combination of shock and awe from the reporters.

“Did you see that homies,” the president proudly proclaimed. “I can totally breathe the air now without coughing for more than two hours.” She then underwent a hysterical coughing fit and was led away by her team of physicians, who warned others not to attempt the same stunt.

In her place, Wal-Mart Secretary of Major Disasters Zach Efron said the reductions were a “dance step” in the right direction, but that more needed to be done.

“I mean, we’re still debating the legitimacy of climate change—it’s starting to get ridiculous,” Efron said. “Really, folks, if climate change wasn’t happening would I be holding this press conference in my swimming trunks? Would our nation’s capital have been moved to Emporia, Kansas? Would Air Force One have been replaced with Bicycle Rickshaw One? I don’t think so!”

Efron then broke into a song and dance routine titled, “I Remember Snowmen,” to emphasize his point, but he twisted an ankle while performing a cartwheel for the last verse and had to be hauled off on a stretcher. He did, however, give reporters a thumbs-up sign to indicate he wasn’t seriously injured this time.

Meanwhile, critics of climate change held their own press conference in response to the president’s announcement. The critics, led by Exxon Oklahoma Senator Paris Hilton, said the excitement over the reduced levels was much ado about nothing.

“You’re not allowed to say ‘It’s hot’ because I trademarked the phrase years before The Big Catastrophe,” Hilton said. “Besides, I have a pretty good idea of how hot things are and quite frankly things aren’t all that hot these days.”

When reached at his home in suburban Chicago, former President Barack Obama had only a simple statement for reporters: “I’ve run out of hope.”




Would a rose smell as sweet? by Chardonnay

Doc’s warning

I was having coffee with my friends, Brad and Kareem, and the issue of universal health care came up. Brad said, “universal health care is bull—-. I’m not paying my hard earned money so that some alien can get a heart transplant”

Kareem replied, “The idea is that every human has the right to that care.” Brad said quickly, “Aliens don’t have rights.”

To which Kareem and I raised our eyebrows and with wide eyes said, ” ”

After the shock subsided and we investigated further, it became clear that Brad was arguing that if everyone in the whole universe got health care, there’s no doubt that we’d be vulnerable to Martians and Jupiter-dwellers alike. (We rolled our eyes, too)

So what it all comes down to is that while sitting around a table giving valuable time to discussing climate change v. global warming v. global climate disruption v. Operation Bart (“Let’s see… Bart, Cart, Dart, Eart… Nope, can’t see any problem with that!”) might feel excessive, it’s actually a huge factor in how (and whether) the rest of your message is received.

From there, as Doc illustrates above, the language used throughout will either polarize people or unite your audience.

I have a friend that by nature is very extreme and vulgar in his word choice. I can be as mad as I’ve ever been at someone, come home, tell my friend the story and he’ll say something like, “That worthless [explitive]. She’s too pathetic to live” And suddenly, I’m defending this offender like she’s my dear grandmother. In essence, we both agree that, to put it graciously– she sucks. However, the difference in language is creating the illusion that we’re on opposite sides of the issue.

Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a great comparison when he says body building transitioned from being secretive to impressive, sexy. In my opinion, an important transition for [current environmental trends that pose potential threat to the Earth and its inhabitants] is from a left-wing issue and right-wing nuisance to a problem uniting all the citizens of the world by its very nature. There’s no reason for this discussion to recognize political, geographical or philosophical boundaries. As long as we can agree that existence is desirable, there is a common ground on which we can all reside.

-Sonya English