J500 Media and the Environment

Let’s Talk Dirty by cherileb
October 18, 2008, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , , ,

When I Google “global warming is a lie,” things get real messy, real fast. There’s a lot of dirt being kicked up out there in the online ecosphere, and sometimes, I find it hard to breathe. Are we capable of a good, clean conversation?

Yes, and I think a little dirt isn’t always bad. Just make sure it’s organic and authentic, says David Clark, an Orchard Advisors sustainability consultant. He’s referring to the power of common ground: the dirty, organic, elemental, personal stuff in which to plant ideas.

Take a look at the “dirt” under others’ shoes. What’s clinging to the soles of the business exec, the rancher, the teacher, the stay-at-home mom and the blue-collar worker? What kind of rich, fertile, common compost of beliefs do they stand on?

Be curious, says Clark, because what you find there is the key to talking about the environment. Sift through the soil of their human experience and recognize children, hunting, profit, faith or a passion for trout fishing. These are the pockets where you will find the place to grow green.

But can “green” seed itself under the topsoil of so much derision, contradiction and misinformation? When does the bull—- break down into fodder for healthy discussion? How do we dig deeper when some are still kicking dirt at each other?

I think the best conversations about nature are going to be… well, more natural. Imperfect, more honest, more organic. Dirtier.

Are you ready to talk dirty?

– Cheri

Bumper sticker sold at Zazzle.com.

Bumper sticker sold at Zazzle.com.


2 Comments so far
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Are we ready? You tell me. What seeds do we need to plant locally – in a state that is known for its climate skepticism – in order for this to take hold?

Comment by j500


Thanks for your comment/question. I think in other skeptical parts of the country, the climate itself has cast seeds of doubt. Unfortunately, in Kansas, we are somewhat insulated from the big wake-up calls experienced elsewhere: the coastal hurricanes, the drought in the South and the smog of L.A.

I think here in the skeptical heartland, the viable seeds or messages need to be not just authentic but creative, poignant, provable and experiential. We in the heartland are known for our humor, honesty and down-to-earth views. But we’re also a hardheaded lot. For the message to sink in, the trout angler may have to stand thigh-deep in a failing stream, the stay-at-home mom may have to start carrying an inhaler for her child in her purse and the farmer may have to battle several infestations.

An appeal to Kansas skeptics needs to be in their language and in their own backyard. (I like David Clark’s example of using humor and surprise to break the ice.) Regardless, let’s hope the pride goes not (just) before the fall.

– Cheri

Comment by cherileb

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