Caring about the environment is patriotic.
Why is it that 97 percent of climate scientists believe that global warming is man-made, yet only 40 percent of Americans agree? It looks like we finally have someone to blame: me. Well, not me, specifically; I’m talking about the media.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, just 1 percent of news coverage today is focused on environmental issues. (That’s down from a whopping 2 percent in 2010.) Compare that with sports and lifestyle coverage, which receives double that, and celebrity coverage, which Pew says is about on par with green coverage. (To me, celebrity coverage seems to eat up a bigger portion of the pie, but I think Pew is talking about reputable news outlets here, not US Weekly and WWTDD.)
Now, the good news: In a new national poll commissioned by the Project for Improved Environmental Coverage and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation this past weekend, nearly 80 percent of Americans said they think environmental coverage should be improved. What’s more, the results didn’t vary much by age, race, education level, or region of the country. They even seem to buck traditional tree-hugging stereotypes (for those who think that green-minded folks are usually white, college-educated Northeasterners; see my bold):
So we’re all in agreement here: Give us more green news! And not slanted coverage, either. The poll also revealed that Americans (70 percent) want the coverage to be inclusive and solutions-oriented. You hear that, Fox News?
If you’re a member of the media who wants to know how we can effectively increase environmental coverage, check out the national Vision for Improved Environmental Coverage, which launched in February this past year. (Note: I was an adviser for the project, along with representatives from Time Magazine, Society of Environmental Journalists, Michigan Radio, San Francisco Chronicle, Solutions Journal, Grist Magazine and the Knight Center of Environmental Journalism.)
October 26th, 2011
Over the years, I’ve attended a lot of eco-related conferences and festivals, and I have to be honest: A lot of them are just halls filled with booths of people trying to sell a bunch of junk by calling it “green.” Not so with the Green Festival, a grassroots project between Green America and Global Exchange, and arguably one of the most community- and solutions-focused “green” festivals in the country. That’s probably why it’s had such staying power — the festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
That’s why I’m excited that this weekend, Green Festival will be coming to the Los Angeles Convention Center, where more than 125 speakers will grace 10 different stages and pavilions to share their knowledge with us all. These aren’t just eco-celebrities — these are renown authors, professors, filmmakers, scientists, community and political leaders who actively working to make this city a truly sustainable place.
Of course, the festival won’t be a total wonk-fest; there will be plenty of fun in the form of live music, yummy local vegetarian food, an organic beer and wine garden, an eco fashion show, and yes, plenty of exhibitors showcasing their green wares.
If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet (an all-access pass is $10), let me make it easy for you: I have four free tickets to give away. Just leave me a comment about what you’re most excited to see at Green Fest (take a look at the website for more details), and I’ll pick the winners later today.
I’ll be at the festival on Saturday hosting one of the speaker stages, so I hope to see you there!
May 18th, 2011
I’m still buzzing from the amazing time I had this past weekend at the second annual Women of the Green Generation Conference, at beautiful Marrakesh House in Los Angeles (owned by Who Killed the Electric Car director Chris Paine).
I especially enjoyed the green lifestyle session packed with power panelists Rachelle Carson Begley, actress Izabella Miko, No More Dirty Looks author Alexandra Spunt, Stewart+Brown designer Karen Stewart, and raw food chef Ani Phyo — as well as the “future of sustainability” panel I sat on that was moderated by Planet 100 host Sarah Backhouse (introduced by WOTGG founder Kris Willey, below):
The photo was taken by the ever-engaging Tamara Henry of Green T With Tamara fame. I had the chance to connect with her briefly before the flurry of the day took over (more photos available via her Facebook page):
The day was made all the more fabulous by the eco-designer duds I was outfitted in by Karen Stewart (below, center; at left is Healthy Bitch Daily co-founder Carly Harrill) — I’ll definitely be turning to Stewart+Brown to round out my summer wardrobe, considering that my closet right now consists of a single pair of jeans and some maternity tank tops.
How fantastic are these leggings I’m wearing, by the way? You can’t really tell from this picture, but they’re actually in a really cool safari print, and are adorably cinched at the bottom. (More photos of WOTGG ladies in Stewart+Brown via their Facebook page.)
But of course, my favorite part of the day was the “green motherhood” panel I moderated, featuring cookbook author and Pregnancy Awareness Month founder Anna Getty, green home and lifestyle consultant Caroline Howell, and California Baby founder Jessica Iclisoy (photo also via Tamara Henry).
Since I’ve been pretty obsessed with the new book Spit That Out! The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt (by author Paige Wolf), I was especially interested to find out how my eco moms were dealing with all the green guilt in their lives, but their answer — amazingly — was that they don’t have any!
Want to hear more about the book and our no-BS panel? Check out my Huffington Post column.
April 12th, 2011
Jamie Oliver’s show Food Revolution is back tonight for its second season on ABC, and I could not be more excited: It was my favorite show last year, not only because I love the man’s message — fight obesity by cooking real, fresh food — but also because it was pretty compelling television in and of itself. (I knew you’d come around, Rod Willis!)
I was also pumped to see this map on the Food Revolution homepage. It shows how many people have signed Oliver’s petition so far, and is color-coded by location. Red states are the places where the most people (30,000+) have signed. Take a look: California — not a surprise. New York — not a surprise. And Texas?!
Now, I’m not saying that people in Texas don’t care about fighting obesity. But Oliver has definitely caught flack from the right for what some construe as a condescending message. So to see a typically red state go red (which in this instance, essentially means go blue) is truly, well, a food revolution.
p.s. Much as I love Food Revolution, it will not be my favorite ABC show this season. That honor goes to Happy Endings, which premieres this Wednesday — both my husband and brother-in-law are writers on the show. Please watch!
April 5th, 2011
Over the weekend, I ran into my local Ralphs supermarket to pick up a few whatnots. I walked down the paper goods aisle, passing by an older gentleman who was deliberating over the boxes of Kleenex. He looked troubled.
“Everything’s gotten so darn expensive,” he said. “I don’t even think I can afford to blow my nose.”
“Yeah, I know,” I commiserated. “Maybe it’s time to bring back the good old-fashioned handkerchief.”
He looked at me like I had two heads.
Here was a man, arguably from the cloth handkerchief generation, yet even he had so lost touch with the former non-disposable world that he probably would have taken food out of his grocery cart to pay for a box of tissues before he remembered that you can actually blow your nose in a piece of reusable cloth.
We’re not talking reusable toilet paper here; why are people missing the obvious?
March 11th, 2011
For years, I’ve been fighting a losing battle. Against technology, that is. Kind of ironic, since I’m a blogger and also write about green tech for two national publications; but it’s true: I’ve always been a Luddite. I wrote research papers on a typewriter instead of a computer halfway through high school. I stubbornly tried to make it through my junior year pre-calculus class sans graphing calculator. I refused to give into the cell phone “craze” until my college graduation (mind you: I graduated in 2001).
And, most notably, last year: I gave up my BlackBerry for Earth Day.
Why do I subject myself to this seeming torture, you ask? Well, for me, being a real tree hugger means I shouldn’t need all these gadgets and gizmos. I want to be hiking in Redwood National Park. Or camping in a tent somewhere. Or raising a basketball team of children (not very eco, I know) on a self-sustaining organic farm in central Oregon.
Except I’m not doing any of those things at present. I live in Los Angeles. I write on a computer for a living. And for now, my livelihood depends on tweeting and texting and generally doing all those tech-y things that I’ve been pushing against for so long.
So until I get that organic farm, I’m adopting a new attitude: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I’m going to stop looking at all this technology as an obstacle to my ideal green life, and start embracing it as a way to get the word out about all the green things I love.
To show that I’m serious, I’ve made a bet that I’ll be able to get 1,000 new Twitter followers by next Thursday. Will you help me?
November 24th, 2010
You don’t have time to read a blog post — you’re too busy defrosting the Tofurky and rolling out pate brisee! (Although those who eat the former would likely never indulge in the latter.) Still, I’ll leave you with this brilliant Thanksgiving ad from the Offlining campaign, which I covered back in June.
A device-free day is not only good for the environment (information and communication technology contributes to two percent of global CO2 emissions — as much as the aviation industry), it’s good for your relationships. The people you love like to know that they’re important enough to have more than two minutes of your undivided attention. I promise, they’ll be thankful.
August 20th, 2010
I’m not going to judge you for your obsession with Real Housewives, but if you’d like to tune in to some trashy television of the more guilt-free variety, you won’t want to miss the Garbage Moguls marathon airing this Saturday (starting at 7 pm) on the National Geographic Channel. The show follows the inner workings of one of my favorite eco-minded companies, TerraCycle, as its crew works to transform trash into treasure.
TerraCycle’s upcycled products have been big business in the past year — its capsule collection for Walmart, which included kites constructed of Cheetos bags and lunch totes spawned from Skittles wrappers, flew off the shelves like the snacks themselves.
Future ingenious green goods (which you’ll get the inside scoop on if you catch the three new episodes this weekend; see video above for a sneak peek) include a line of pet products produced with Pedigree dog food bags, a suit jacket fabricated from Target plastic bags, and a garbage can made from — you guessed it — garbage!
Want to check out the post-consumer-cool products in real life? Facebook fans can enter to win TerraCycle prizes by answering trivia questions during each episode. Click here to find out more.
July 27th, 2010
President Obama, you’ve spearheaded a number of meaningful environmental reforms since taking office (raising fuel efficiency standards for cars, an $80 billion investment in clean energy technology, the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program) — and it seems like you genuinely want to move this country toward a clean energy future, especially in the wake of the BP oil disaster — so would it be too much to ask you to stop being a shill for the bottled water industry?
Yep, I’m talking about that bottle of Aquafina spotted in your hand on the way to shoot hoops with Reggie Love this past weekend at Fort McNair. (This isn’t the first time, either; you were also photographed packing the plastic last September in New York City.)
It may seem like a minor detail, but those little plastic bottles are having a big impact on our nation’s oil footprint, once you factor in the crude used to make the plastic, the energy needed to process the water, the fuel used to transport the bottles, the electricity to refrigerate them… The grand total? Fifty million barrels of the sticky stuff a year.
And by the way, what does it say about your faith in the federal government to regulate public drinking supplies if you’re choosing PepsiCo over our nation’s finest?
Now imagine the example you’d set for all of us if you were photographed sporting a reusable Nalgene or Klean Kanteen at your next pick-up game. It may not bring the DOA climate bill back to life, but it’d sure be a step in the right direction.
July 20th, 2010
He’s the king of boat music, so it should come as no surprise that coastal crooner Jimmy Buffett has donated a specialized boat to help out with wildlife recovery efforts for the BP oil spill.
The Shallow Water Attention Terminal (SWAT) vessel, designed by Dragonfly Boatworks in Vero Beach, FL, may as yet have a name (suggestion: Oilspillville?), but it’s scheduled to begin operations this week in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Alabama, which has been polluted by some of the thickest oil of the spill to date. Operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the refuge is a crucial habitat for migratory birds and nesting sea turtles.
Thanks to a flat-hull construction, the Buffett boat will be able to navigate the shallow, marshy areas of the refuge; in fact, it’s designed to operate in as little as 8 inches of water (for comparison, that’s about half the depth of a standard size bathtub). The craft also features a canopy to protect workers from the sun, a misting system to provide further cooling, and a table to examine the oil-soaked wildlife. WiFi and video cameras on board will enable remote viewing of the rescue operations.
This isn’t the first time the “Son of a Son of a Sailor” star has reached out on behalf of our sea creature friends: Buffett founded the original Save the Manatee Club in 1981 with then Florida governor (and now head of the presidential commission investigating the BP oil spill) Bob Graham.