Monday, January 28, 2008

From trendy to normal...

Today I had the privilege of listening and participating in a conversation with Chip Giller, the President and Founder of Grist an online magazine focusing on the environment that was founded in 1999. I was not familiar with Grist, though I had heard the name before, but I had never checked it out. It's a shame since I've lost a lot of time, but as they say better late than never. It's really interesting site that has a wide variety of content centered around the environment. For example there is an advice column that deals with the fun memorable questions all the way through analysis of candidate positions on the environment. It's large swath of content basically says, the environment touches almost every aspect of your life.

Giller, had a really provocative quote that resonated with me in that the goal is to move the environment from trendy to normal. Where environmentalism isn't a telegraphed activity, but one that is ingrained. He gave two examples that illustrate the change. The first is the wide acceptance of seat belts, just 30 years ago, people didn't wear seat belts often, and now it's the norm. The other example he gave was personal hygiene. It's hard to believe in an age of anti-bacterial everything that people use to rarely wash their hands. and now the reaction to not washing one's hands is ewww!

It's a nice way to think about it, we no longer think of unleaded gas, because that's what it is. That one step probably is responsible for 10 IQ points in the general populace and the improvements in our health and environment. The goal is normalcy, and Giller and Grist have revealed that we want actionable advice.

In the past I've had my 10 ways of going carless, and my Five For Footprint initiative and tips for going carfree. In other ways, I've focused on awareness, such as keeping a garbage diary to understand your garbage stream. One of the goals for the next year that I've already started on is the linkage between financial security and environmental impact. With luck, the two can buttress each other. Say goodbye to McMansions and more the "Not So Small House" and also understand the power of "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle" consumerism and what that means both for jobs and for the planet. It's time for us to put Dream into Action since "Things can only get better."


At 8:16 AM , Blogger Green Bean said...

You are right. We are moving in the right direction. I used to really care about the environment as a teen and nobody but nobody brought cloth bags. Now, waiting in line at Whole Foods, you'll see a good percentage of folks with them. We will get there but of course it's moving too slowly for me. Then again, patience has never been my strong suit.


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