J500 Media and the Environment

Savoring the Forbidden Fruit by justinlev7

What is this thing we call the Internet?

No, really. What is it?

dsouza_alanWe use it every day. Networking sites like Facebook let people access anyone, anywhere, in seconds. Google sorts and organizes more words and ideas in a minute than any human can hope to process in her life. Dazzling fortunes are made, used and wasted; overwhelming games and images are developed and stored;  trillions of stories are told.

This thing, this Internet, didn’t even exist 30 years ago. Now, it permeates our media environment. It is the purest manifestation of Enlightenment humanism, an endless library of human knowledge. Anything  and everything mankind has known and recorded probably waits in there like an apple in the Garden, waiting to be plucked and digested by some enterprising individual. It is collective human consciousness, literally resting in the palm of your hand.

Watch this video. You’ll like it.

Internet breakthroughs, like all technology,  advance exponentially. Where is this all leading us?

Some, such as the believers in the Singularity, would say knowledge and resultant technology are advancing to an impossible point where all knowledge will unite in a single ego, and individuality will cease (like at the end of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End.) Admittedly, the idea is a little crazy… but so is the idea that Christ died for our sins, or that Energy might equal Matter times the Speed of Light, squared. Right?

Is the Singularity what the Internet is moving us toward? Perhaps… If so, I think we’d all do well to keep our eyes on that sneaky bugger.

But then, maybe, as Zen Buddhists would tell you, all technology is insignificant. Perhaps the Internet simply is, just as a rock simply is, or a picnic lunch simply is, and the responsible human should relax, observe and contemplate it (try to grok it, to use the words of another ridiculously nerdy author for me to be referencing). After all, humans spend so much time altering their environment…

This spring break, let your environment alter you.

Justin Leverett is done for the week. Shabbat shalom, y’all 🙂

Media for Thought by julianat
April 15, 2008, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , , ,

Media makes me nauseous.

I have been exposed to a whirlwind of environmental media stories and world news on suffering, violence and hunger. Between the two, I’ve been left feeling skeptical and helpless. I would consider myself pretty well-informed on environmental issues. I live a life more green, and would like to say that my awareness is enough, but lifestyle is not enough, it’s my own perception, and that of others that counts towards a more healthy earth.

The media, I would argue, shapes perception on what is good and bad, and what are important issues to consider. No matter how unbiased a report may seem, the fact that they are published gives the issue an upper hand on importance, and some of the most pertinent issues are barely covered because it is most likely what media thinks people don’t want to hear

Recently, media has shaped the environmental movement in ways that previous generations of environmentalists only wish they had access to. There have been copious amounts of environmental documentaries made, and mentioning a tip here or there on how to be greener, or how your business is green has become a trend. Media takes on a big step for environmentalism, but unfortunately it is ridden with greenwashing, and is targeted to comfortable communities rather than those that are seeking real environmental justice.

Being green is the new feel-good.

I think it has been established that media has done well for environmentalism, although it is ridden with contradiction. As far as access goes for environmental media, it only helps on how much you are interested in it. Since environmentalism is imbued in my brain, I think it is what I am most attracted to when surfing the Internet or reading periodicals, so for me, it is an enormous issue that I am hopeful that many people are being exposed to.

Then I talk to my parents, or coworkers, or someone I run into at the grocery store, and the issues are all jargon to them.

I can mention no personal experience with television – I barely know how to work a remote anymore, so I will focus on the Internet. The internet is an amazing thing because it allows you to cut through the BS that you don’t want to see, you search for exactly what you want to see, you stay on websites that have the same point of view as you, and the websites reinforce your ideas by showing advertisements that they think you would be interested in.

Environmentalism, just as much as any other issue, seems to go only as far as people will allow it in their mind, how much exposure they choose to have in their life and whether or not they will act upon it.

Although the green movement is getting large, is environmentalism still a niche idea?


-Juliana Tran