The Bush administration has been responsible for quashing evidence for climate change, casting doubt, putting pressure on scientists and re-writing scientific reports. These actions are more akin to totalitarian regimes than to democracy and bring shame on the US. Now we have Sarah Palin, Republican number two, claiming that climate change is not related to human activity. In the UK we have the likes of pitiful Jeremy Clarkson trying to ridicule anyone with a care for the environment and applauding Palin’s beliefs. Meanwhile, the ice sheets are disappearing from the Arctic Circle at an alarming rate, we have increasing species extinction, a population explosion and clear evidence that the climate is changing rapidly all around us. Whilst no-one who understands and cares about the environment will take any notice of people like Palin and Clarkson, they are dangerous because they receive widespread media coverage and have an influence on people’s views. Climate scepticism is nothing more than denial in the face of overwhelming evidence but it is made worse by high profile ignorance and apathy.
I just stumbled upon this lovely EcoSearch. These guys re-skinned google and created a nonprofit search that raises money for other environmentally nonprofits.
Users search on EcoSearch.org, just as they would on any other search engine. The results come straight from Google, but here’s the cool thing – they donate all of the profits from their ad revenue to green organisations.
It’s safe to say that the use of social networking sites worldwide has exploded in the past year, with popular sites seeing total visits increase by as much as 270 percent, according to a recent study by ComScore Inc. MySpace, alone drew more than 114 million global visitors in June 2007, a 72 percent increase over the past year while Facebook, experienced a 270 percent increase in worldwide visitors over the past year.
Alongside the growth of these networks the emergence of niche networks is also growing, coupled with the increased media attention on climate change its no wonder that we are now seeing a host of green social networks emerging. Personally I welcome this for a host of reasons but primarily anything that puts climate change at the centre of the debate is both necessary and essential. While I enjoy dabbling with Facebook and other networks the communication involved seems to be rather limited and the content rather egocentric. This is not a criticism rather an observation and it’s totally natural given that we are really just beginning to explore the potentials of this form of communication.
What ever your beliefs in regard to climate change and its effects it’s hard to ignore the problems we are facing in relation to escalating fuel prices, food shortages and extreme weather conditions. Whether we believe it or not they are inextricably linked and the need to address these issues is paramount. For the first time in human history the Internet offers us the tools to communicate and collaborate on a global scale. While the net may not offer all of the solutions it does however allow each of us to partake in the discussion and therefore it is unquestionably a truly democratizing tool and one that needs to be safeguarded.
As I said earlier I welcome the proliferation of green focused networking sites and I myself am part of a new networking site www.edenbee.com that offers users a platform to tackle climate change through better personal choices (with a little encouragement from like-minded souls). It has all of the essentials of a social network — ways to build a network with friends, and groups and discussions — but on Edenbee, personal profiles get a unique spin with “Lifestyle Profiling” and “Carbon Logbooks,” and a framework for setting goals against the two.
Edenbee encourages not only information sharing, but also a way for people to cheer each other on. If you are looking for up to date news and information you can browse through the blog posts that offer a host of news and interesting articles on how to be more eco conscious and other topical green issues. We feel that we are encouraging a more meaningful conversation, one that is necessary if we are to leave any kind of lasting legacy for future generations.
A must read for everyone interested in green marketing is Russell Davies’ presentation at Applied Green that took place last year. Russell is the big daddy of planners and communications strategists in the UK as well as globally. He brilliantly discusses potential routes to reinvent consumer capitalism, a cultural and economic phenomena/reality that has such a devastating effects on the environment yet it is fairly naive to hope to eliminate it all together.
Only a few years ago, anyone working to raise awareness about climate change was doing just that: working to raise awareness. The challenge was primarily to convince people that climate change was happening, and that it was a problem to take seriously.
One of the refreshing things about today’s climate is that this first challenge has been won. Thanks in large part to Al Gore, and all the work preceding his, global warming is all but uniformly recognised – both on a national and international level- as the greatest threat facing humanity today.
This means that for the first time in the history of environmental campaigning, activists, politicians, mothers, fathers, businesses and anyone else moved to act can focus all of their energy on creating solutions to the problem. And this means that the challenge of global warming can become an opportunity for things to get better.
From all I’ve seen so far, the cornerstones of this opportunity are two-fold: collaboration and action. Action is self explanatory: we have to do something, and we have to do it now. Collaboration is the mechanism to do it. Gone are the days of ‘them and us’ approaches to environmental issues- more clearly than ever we all see that there’s a massive problem, and the only way out is to work together.
That means governments, businesses, pressure groups, families, students, civil servants, red, blue, green, black, white, pink, capitalist, anarchist, socialist , upper-class, lower-class, working-class, middle-class, religious, non-religious, 4×4 driving, cycle driving, suit or sandal wearing, you name it. We are united by our common humanity, and if that doesn’t make sense to you, then by our common being on this blue ball together a long, long way from any other coloured balls on which we can live.
So what’s the convenient truth about all this? That doing the work- doing what’s needed to stabilise the climate, not only enriches our own lives, it also enriches the lives of those around us, and everyone with a stake in planet earth- which is everyone. Everyone wins.
It’s not always easy. Collaboration, whether within a family, or within the arena of international politics takes work. It takes work to get through our clashing egos in order for our common humanity to emerge: imagine Mr Capitalist and Mr Anarchist in the Big Brother House arguing over whose turn it is to do the washing up, meanwhile the chickens in the garden are being eaten by a hungry fox who got driven from his home in the woods.
The question is the nature of our end goal. Too often in life the end goal is drama, tension, sparks flying and continuing to fly. Is that what we want on a planetary level? Or can our end goal be harmony? Can we do away with the drama of doom and gloom, now? Do away with the tension of political stand-off? Can we collaborate enough so that once the initial sparks of ego clashes have flown, they can recede and we can get on with the job at hand?
I think we can, and I think it’s worth it. And that’s A Convenient Truth.
The latest episode of Hip Hop News Parody show ‘Rap News’ deals with the lead up to potentially historic Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen, 7th December. Your host Robert Foster brings notorious figures from both sides of the debate together in the studio to have it out. Lord Christopher Monckton, the hereditary peer from Great Britain, finally gets the chance to pour his barrage of climate change skepticism all over IPPC darling, Al Gore. Who will win, and who will be rap battled into the ground to eat logic dust? Find out here on Juice Media’s Rap News.