31 December 2010

Dear news media -- how about covering positive environmental stories for a change?


It's me, Eager Greenie. You know, the demographic that bends over backwards, sideways and upside down in order to help take the heat off of Mother Earth. Me and my eco-peeps aren't exclusively about recycling, by the way. We also get involved in our communities, conserve our household resources, spread environmental awareness via our blogs, buy local organically produced goods, keeping the car parked in the garage more than we ever used to -- that just scratches the surface but I'm sure you get the picture.

There's no point in pretending that you weren't aware of our existence. Judging from your increasingly alarming headlines in the last few years, I think that you're well aware of exactly who you're speaking to and how strategic phrases like "Greenland Icesheet Melting Faster Than Originally Thought" and "Planned Emission Cuts Still Mean Far Hotter Earth" work to rattle our souls. Sure, it helps to sell papers (or I should say page views), but your sensationalist form of journalism -- while definitely catching our attention -- isn't yielding exactly the result that I think you were hoping for.

Let me first state that no one is pointing a gun at our heads, forcing us to care more about the future of our planet than others do. I'm sure that plenty of people who haven't yet figured out how to make palpable lifestyle changes still care. In my particular case, I just happen to be a self-propelled environmental sympathizer because it clicks inside of my head. Making a daily effort to help offset ecological problems (even if they amount to nothing more than a small drop in the bucket) somehow helps me to feel as though my life counts for something far more substantial and meaningful.

Just because I have green leanings doesn't mean that I think for even a second that I am better than anyone else out there. Some people light up in the presence of babies or create revolutionary medicines that save countless lives -- I get giddy over sustainability, and I'm not the only one. It's a great feeling to know that I'm rubbing elbows with greenies of all intensities. Whatever part of the spectrum they're rocking -- from celadon, chartreuse and lime to asparagus, kelly and olive -- the fact that we're all working toward a common goal helps me to keep on keeping on.

Now that you have a better idea of where I'm coming from, I'm writing this letter just to let you know that -- no offense -- you're doing a really crummy job of reporting on today's environmental news. I realize that people respond better to constructive criticism, but I've just about had it with your dark, depressing headlines, so forgive me if I fail to spare your feelings. I realize that our planet is in a tailspin of sorts, but your negative adjectives and incessant Darth Vader spin is enough to make even the most resolute greenie drag their chin in the dirt. Despite all of the Co2 odds spinning around out there, don't you want us to keep caring and doing? If you continue telling me and my other eco-cohorts that despite all of our efforts, we're still going to hell in a hand basket, there's going to be a point where you finally succeed in breaking us down. That's really not your intention, is it?

You have just as much reason to cheer on the green movement as we do. Don't worry, we're not asking you to actually join it if it doesn't quite work with your lifestyle -- we'll continue doing all the hard work and you can just sit back knowing that it will benefit not just you and your children but their children's children. Seriously though, enough with the foreboding eco-propaganda, we don't want to deal with it anymore. Maybe I'm just hard-wired to care a little too much about what's going on in the world, but the chronic dark stuff brings me to my knees. I want to know that there's actually also some good is coming out of our collective eco-efforts.

I'm not saying that any of us want to walk around with blinders on, but the fire and brimstone accounts of our planet's downward spiral have got to stop. Spare us the candy-coating, too -- just deliver the facts with none of the fluff. I don't think that's too much to ask. Believe me, I can handle the facts when they aren't bogged down in a pile of linguistical sludge. Knowing that the "Mayday, Mayday -- We're All Screwed!!!" headlines are history, let's take it one step further. On behalf of all the environmentalists out there, we respectfully request that you report on real world accomplishments and areas where we're actually making a little progress. I'm sure that type of news exists -- it might be a bit more challenging to sniff out, but I think that it would give all the Eager Greenies in the world a little more oomph in the motivation department.

I appreciate your attention and look forward to seeing these changes implemented, effective immediately.


Eager Greenie

Elizah Leigh | @elizahleigh
Elizah Leigh's master's degree in education combined with her passion for the written word and deep-seated interest in environmental issues has proven to be the ideal trifecta for her present status as a green journalist. Currently commissioned to write a reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah hopes to inspire people through her words. Follow Elizah on Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/brettohland