“Suddenly, the problems were obvious everywhere you looked: our food was chemically treated and genetically modified, our water was contaminated with toxic chemicals, our resources were running out … but a few key issues that have spurred millions to “go green”.”
Environmentalism is not a dirty word. Instead think of it as more of a spectrum: from those that choose to bring their own ‘green’ shopping bags to those who build extreme eco-friendly homes and then those who are activists, vocalising their way of life.
But what is environmentalism in our fast paced, ‘more is better’, ‘newer is greater’ society? Through campaigns such as Earth Hour, Clean Up Australia Day and World Environment Day, the public sphere is annually reminded of this fragile planet we live on. It is through these events that the concept of fragility is encouraged and the idea of moral panic is produced.
There are two media driven and consumer supported sides to this issue. The first being supported by Al Gore and his 2006 film ‘An Inconvenient Truth”. In this documentary Gore sets out to educate the public, via a ‘slideshow’ presentation, about the severity of the climate crisis. Even though the film and findings are potentially outdated, it is still used to spur on the cause and motivate others to continue spreading the message.
This then leads to the second media, reality lifestyle show ‘Grand Designs‘ (UK) and ‘The Block‘ (AU). Both shows promote environmentally friendly products, processes and design. In particular, Grand Designs highlights the efforts of wealthier couples across Britain who wish to create ‘eco-homes’; self-sufficient living spaces that are entirely ‘green’.
But to what degree does this British television show create and enhance moral panic? It makes an issue that is seen to be a private and personal decision, very public. These families use the show as a billboard for promoting both their wealth (because, let’s be honest, being green also means dishing out the big bucks) and their social awareness of the environment. In our show all, judge all, want all media driven society, this kind of self promotion is the fuel that drives on the fashion-like-trend.
Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia 2014, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Inconvenient_Truth (Accessed 12th of April 2014)
Web Ecoist 2014, ‘A brief history of the modern green movement in America’, http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2008/08/17/a-brief-history-of-the-modern-green-movement/ (Accessed 11th of April 2014)
Youtube 2014, Grand Designs Eco House, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZWLv-CzT2c (Accessed 11th of April 2014)
My Blog 2008, Al Ameri K, ‘Summary of An Inconvienient Truth’, http://khalud.blogspot.com.au/2008/04/summary-of-inconvenient-truth.html (Accessed 13th of April 2014)
Greener Ideal 2014, Helliwell J, ‘3 Amazing Eco Homes in the United Kingdom, http://www.greenerideal.com/building/0610-3-amazing-eco-homes/ (accessed 13th of April 2014)