In the past thirty some odd years the meaning of “ being green” has changed significantly. Thirty four years ago, in 1989 a best selling book was published, 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save the Earth , by EarthWorks Group, (Berkeley, CA: Earthworks Press, 1989). http://everything2.com/title/50+Simple+Things+You+Can+Do+to+Save+the+Earth You can see the 50 tips at the link above. I remember taking it out of the library, copying the 50 tips by hand in a notebook , and earnestly trying to do as many of them as I could. This book was important because it was the first mass media product I remember that created a lot of buzz….well before the word buzz existed I guess.
On the other hand , at the time I did not realize that this book had an approach that would be later called “ a mile wide and an inch deep.” There was not much analysis of the actions suggested and they varied from pick up litter on a beach to recycle aluminum cans, which was , believe it or not , not very easy to do in many places in 1989. Saving the earth and protecting the environment still sort of a new idea. It was also still largely free from political polarization and not yet highly legislated
Over a decade later , in the year 2000 Erin Brockovich , portrayed by the popular Julia Roberts hit the screens. Could this be true? Were big companies really so evil and ruthless? These questions were, perhaps for the first time , brought to the minds of the general public. And we were already in the 21st century.
Of course all, along environmentalists had been trying to get the word out about the multiple and complex environmental issues and even though Greenpeace had been founded almost 30 years earlier , it was still not fully mainstream.
Today we are not so innocent and not so uninformed but , tragically, we are much more polarized about something that is basic to our very survival and quality of life, as well as that of future generations. Issues such as fracking, renewable energy, climate change and many others have become a source of division, as interest groups inform , misinform and counter- inform , often distorting or giving partial information.
In order to be well-informed about these important issues we must make an effort. There is so much contradictory information out there that we need to read extensively , select reliable sources and think critically. Unfortunately not everyone has the time or inclination to do all this work, and that is when political parties or industrial interest groups can get their message out , which may, or may not, be a message that is keeping the common good in mind.
Being green in 2013 may seem complex, but it is also much more urgent, so it is important to find the facts , face the facts and then act in consequence.