J500 Media and the Environment

Going green is people! by jseverin


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


Blogging: There’s more to it than you think! by lindsaycr
April 27, 2008, 8:02 am
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: ,

As the school year comes to an end, I find myself looking back on all that I have learned in my Media and the Environment class. I have to admit that when the semester first started, I was a little intimidated by the Internet component of this class.

Up until January, I had rarely heard the term blog, let alone actually written one. But after jumping into this task head first, I feel very comfortable with writing blogs. I even did a Google Search on myself and I found links to my various class blogs.

Not only will I be able to show off my work to my friends and family this way, potential employers will also be able to get a glimpse of my work on the web.

The main reason I signed up for this class was because I was interested in learning the adverse effects that climate change is having on our world. I also wanted to learn ways in which I could become more eco-friendly so that I could not only change my own lifestyle, but also the lifestyles of my friends and family too.

After taking this class, I am not only more aware of my own consumption, but other people’s consumption as well. There have been several times where I picked an aluminum can out of the trash and put it in the recycle bin just a few feet away. I even got my mother to purchase reusable bags for the grocery store and am very proud that she is actually using them!

While I realize that all of these steps are small, I feel good that I am slowly becoming more environmentally friendly. I think that large corporations are not going to change the world, but rather individuals who make that decision and then influence others. I am proud to say that I am now one of those kinds of people, and that hopefully, if we all work together, we can give back more than we have already taken from our beautiful planet.

Photo courtesy of Google.