Friday, April 11, 2008

That's Ecotainment

By Michael Daley

I was in CVS the other day in Harvard Square and decided to check out the magazine stand. Whoa! Look at all the covers with stories about the environment and going green. Newsweek, Time, National Geographic, and Discover all had features on the environment. This is great! We want to see our message passed on to as large of an audience as possible. At the same time, the overwhelming prevalence of features on going green makes me a bit worried. Is the energy going to fade and are people going to get tired of reading about global warming, sustainability, and the loss of biodiversity? Is it just "ecotainment" as it has been recently phrased?

The answer to this question is probably. It is likely that stories about going green and the environment won't continue to sell as well in the future. However, the environmental field has a window of opportunity to take advantage of the spotlight. There is no telling how long the moment will last so we have to jump all over it. Maybe people will hear the message, change will happen, and we will cut carbon emissions and slow global warming. That would be just fine with me. We could define that as success.

The environmental field has gone through many stages in its history. It is now the largest social movement in the world. Some estimate there are over 1 million organizations with a mission related to the environment. There was the conservation movement, the toxic waste movement, the clean air and clean water movement, the global warming movement, and now we are experiencing the green movement. The field will continue to evolve to address current issues. One thing is certain, if eliminating the threat of continued global warming means there will be a reduction in magazine coverage of our field, we are okay with that!

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