On previous Earth Days, readers were sure to expect some startling statistics about pollution, global climate change and environmental destruction from most mainstream newspapers. But on Earth Day 2008, we at Worldchanging noticed that much of this year's coverage was different. Not because the destruction has diminished, but because our knowledge of both the problems and our relationship to them have increased. With a majority of the population aware of the problems, the focus of the articles has shifted away from defining the problem to helping people discover the solutions, or at very least eco-branded products and services portrayed as solutions.
From carbon footprint-minimizing suggestions from the New York Times Magazine’s Green Issue to eco-conscious comic strips from more than 40 of King Digital's cartoonists, the stories floating on front pages across the nation talked of solutions and unique ways to take action.
Stories about how we can afford to use and have access to renewable energy, like solar. This story from the USA TODAY explores how some solar companies are acting as utilities to remove some of the barriers to using solar panels, such as original cost, owning and maintaining the systems.
We found stories that show how green legislation is working, like this one in the Oregonian about how green energy legislation is already stimulating the job market.
There were stories that gave us ideas about how to be more eco-conscious about transportation and have more time for our families by telecommuting one or two days a week.
…and stories that show us it’s possible for people living in big cities to live with a one planet mentality. (Watch as the New York Times asks the Dervaes show you around their “off the grid” home in Pasadena, Calif.)
True, many suggested actions are quite fluffy, and quite frankly aren’t going to be enough get us out of the mess we are in. The critique we made here last year still stands
But thankfully some covered Earth Day's triviality and materialism, too. For one example, listen as Liam Moriarty of KPLU and Robert McClure of the Seattle P-I discuss the marketing hype surrounding Earth Day.
So fluffy or not, what’s the best new idea you heard on Earth Day?
the best idea i heard was that we need to be wary. risk is how the high end US economy works now and signs such as a willingness to throw millions into starvation and homelessness, combined with only casual concern about sustainability, point to a clean energy investment bubble. getting nothing for all our remaining cash would be a disaster.
I think there is more optimism and practical solutions these days. People feel more empowered, specifically as a result of social media. The solutions reach more people more efficiently and offer hope. And the market is driving it in many ways. Nonprofits and NGOs play a key role, but green is an attainable lifestyle choice instead of just a form of political activism.
This year's Earth Day was more than a little depressing for me. The reason? I just accepted a new job that sees me commuting 50 miles a day (round trip). I live in Chicago, so this equates to 3 hours a day seated in my car, simply shuttling to and from work. My company doesn't yet allow telecommuting.
So Happy Earth Day to me: after three years of living in Chicago and commuting with public transit, I'm now dumping $50 a week into my gas tank and wondering why I don't quit and get a lower paying job closer to home. Any ideas on what I can do in this situation?
Hi, I am the Environemtal reporter in my country Guyana. I work with the National Communications Network. Now I have been on the ball trying to get people aware of climate change, and things they can do to mitigate the impact.
However, when questioned, the average person does not care about what is going on, and scientific evidence to them is total fallacy and it doesn't matter.
What am I doing wrong? Any sugestions on how I can bring it home to them?
My country is below sea level and is very vulnerable to climate change.
NB This is not to be published on your site. I would just like to ahve some information.
The city of Los Altos, CA launched its Low Carbon Challenge, asking all households in the community to pledge to reduce their carbon emissions by 2000 pounds over the next year. Each household chooses from roughly 20 actions that they pledge to take (or more appropriately, reduce) in order to reach the goal. Check out www.coollosaltos.org.