J500 Media and the Environment

Fueling the Trend Train by alyv
February 6, 2009, 8:36 am
Filed under: Society + Media

Trends make people do crazy things. They make people wear silly clothes and get ridiculous haircuts for the sake of seeming just a bit more in-tune than other people.

Social trends are really no different – they make people say and do crazy things. But unlike fashion, the influence of social trends isn’t measured by ridicule, but by the emergent properties the trends produce.

A USA Today article outlined the top 25 Trends That Changed America. Among them: establishing diversity, fighting for equality and trying curb smoking. The list also contained global warming and going green.

So, given some of the others on the list, why does environmentalism as a trenimage0021d have to be a bad thing?

Like it or not, trends hold tremendous power. Trends are trends by definition because people are influenced by them, people talk about them, and people advertise for them. What environmentalism needs more than anything is discussion. Discussion yields action. And action gets the attention of legislators, who have more power to get this ball rolling. Check out this list compiled by the Presidential Climate Action Project, which outlines everything President Barack Obama has the power to do.

We need policy, but in order to have policy, we need people. If we want environmentalism to stick around long enough to be as influential as the civil rights “trends,” we need to cater to those who will make a difference – individual people. We can’t overwhelm them with statistics or doom and gloom forecasts. We have to continue to give them answers, simple ones, as to how they can help.

It might be adding fuel to the trend train, but at least it’s carbon free.

Of course, this may give credence to those saying environmentalism as a trend undermines the importance of taking care of the planet, but frankly I’d rather have bad rap videos about going green than nothing at all.

-Aly V

Thanks to In Between Meals for the photo.

Thanks to You Tube for the video.


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I agree that every person helps and counts, but this movement needs more than ephemeral hipsters and talking heads. It needs committed people, which tend to not be attracted by the social fashion of the movement, but by the urgency.

All that said, I did like the video and am a believer that this movement should try to reach as many people as possible, using as many outlets as possible — even if they are trendy.

Bryan Dykman

Comment by bryand09

I was intrigued by the top 25 trends list you linked to. Number nine was the obesity crisis that our county is facing. More kids are getting diabetes now than ever before. The nutritional value of our nations food is obviously to blame. It’s going to take more than “Nintendo Wii Fit” to end this trend.

Comment by matthewtb

Bryan: I completely agree that in order to make a difference, environmentalism needs committed people to work towards that goal. I guess I was just saying that before there are more committed people, more people in general need to take an interest and let that interest move them into making conscious decisions about what they do. I hope environmentalism becomes more than a trend – as the civil rights movements did – but, you’re right, in order for that to happen, people need to be committed to making the necessary changes.

Matt: I hear there’s a weight limit even for Nintendo Wii…

Comment by alyv

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