J500 Media and the Environment

j500 teaches the sun a thing or two by acbowman
April 29, 2008, 11:03 am
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , , , , , , ,

There is an old saying, “There is nothing new under the sun.”


photo courtesy of astro.uva.nl

However, after a semester researching and analyzing environmental media content, I have come to think that environmental problems are in fact new. The earth has seen environmental transitions and changes before, but never has the cause of those problems had the intelligence and technology to stop and possibly reverse it’s impact.

Human beings have had to make difficult decisions before, such as whether to go to war or how to feed ourselves. But the environment brings a level of complexity in the decision making process that we haven’t had to deal with before

Because these problems are new, we have a difficult time figuring out solutions. This makes communicating about the issues equally daunting. As our blog illustrates, we all have different ideas about how to fix the problems, and how to communicate about the problems. In traditional media, the issues are discussed, like most things, as polarizing opposites in conflict. The benefit of new media sources is that there is opportunity to discuss the issues as people problems, rather than political problems.

The one constant in all of this is that the environment isn’t a Democratic issue. It isn’t a Republican issue. It isn’t a rich issue. And it isn’t a poor issue. It is a people issue. The brilliant thing about people is that we are all different. And the frustrating thing about people is that we are all different. Because of that, there is no one answer for how to reach everybody to inform and educate them about sustainability.

What has come through all of this, for me, is that you have to talk to people where they are. What is important to them. And show them how by being sustainable, they are really making everything that is important to them better. Basically, you have to talk to them on a personal level.

So even though the problems are more complex than anything under the sun, the way to communicate about them is as old as dirt.


photo courtesy of pioneerasphaltinc.com



2 Comments so far
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There is this book I really like called Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth. It talks about how rich and complex dirt is, posits that it might come from exploding stars, and draws a parallel between the upper layer, humus, and humans. It says that in order to understand both, you have to understand the interconnections. I could not agree more. Thank you for these reflections, Adam.

Comment by j500

I can see that. W are all just animated humus.

But realizing that we are all interconnected, not just with each other, but with the earth, is a big step for a lot of people.

I think they need to get there, but most probably can’t start there. That is why the idea of global change climate warming hasn’t caught on as much as most of us would like.

Baby steps to a greener life.


Comment by acbowman

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