To begin, my lack of posting does not necessarily correlate to a lack of reflection on the topics of our class. I actually think about the environment/sustainability/recycling/etc. often, but I have been extremely busy and so have not posted (not that that is an excuse, of course).
Lately, I have seen a number of articles in newspapers, magazines, and online on subjects related to the environment. If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that I work at a local grocery store. During my downtime at work (which is plentiful), I read the magazines on the shelf next to the register. One of the magazines this week was a special edition National Geographic on the state of the environment as we enter 2010. I have not had the chance to read it yet, but hopefully I will get to do so next weekend. I considered buying it, but it cost $9.95, and that’s a little too steep for my preferences. I like National Geographic, and I am sure they have a number of invaluable things to say about the environment. I am partly ashamed to admit that I also read the gossip magazines (People, Us Weekly, InTouch). I have seen ‘green’ articles popping up in these magazines as well. They promote organic clothing and toiletries and write articles about how celebrities are ‘going green.’ Even the little things, like the “Celebrities Are Just Like Us” sections, are going green with references to celebrities’ reusable shopping bags and hybrid cars. Most of the other magazines that I read at work (such as Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and Vogue) also contain at least references, if not entire articles, devoted to the new green movement.
Even our own Omaha World Herald is jumping on the green bandwagon. Here is an article titled “Renewable Fuels Set as Priority” from today’s edition. Another article from today’s edition, “Takeout Takes a Green Twist” is about how the College of Saint Mary’s is requiring all of its students to purchase a reusable take-out container. An article from last week reported about how music festivals across the country are seeking to go carbon neutral (“Music Festivals Put ‘Green’ At Top of Playlist”).
I think the media (newspapers, magazines, television, film, and the Internet included) is probably one of the post powerful tools that the environmental movement can, and should, exploit. It allows scientists and activists an avenue to communicate with the general public. And the general public has the capacity to change the way we view and use the environment. This leads me back to An Inconvenient Truth. Regardless of whether all of Al Gore’s facts were exactly correct and his sources duly cited, his documentary was a voice for the movement. I don’t think anyone would say that Al Gore completely missed the mark; everyone agrees that there is some truth to his statements. (I personally think he hit the nail on the head.) The important point, however, is that his film got people talking. It exposed our generation to a critical problem that we have the power to change. And that is the power of the media.
As far as my own efforts to go green, I’ve created my own all-purpose recycling bin (a recycled paper bag into which I throw all my plastic, glass, and cardboard to be sorted later). I try to unplug my appliances (printer, computer, coffee pot, toaster, microwave, etc.) when they are not in use. An incandescent lightbulb in my ceiling fan just went out, and I am planning to buy a halogen bulb to replace it. There is one thing I am going to try to change in the next week or so. I am allowed free drinks (coffee, fountain pop, water) at both of my jobs and I usually drink them out of styrofoam or paper cups. I am going to try to find a reusable cup that I can take to work so I can stop wasting styrofoam/paper cups.
Well, that’s all for now, until next time…