The media represents an influential medium, but the problem is how is it using this influence? Lately, the media has been associated with negative aspects, such as phone hacking, sensationalism, giving too much attention to celebrities, promoting violence and unethical stories. This encourages the audiences to be interested in these types of stories, presenting them as being informative and useful. However, if the media has an impact on people’s opinion in a negative way, could it have a positive influence as well?
The WHOLE EARTH? exhibition is a collaboration between an environmental photographer (Mark Edwards) and an environmental journalist (Lloyd Timberlake), taking sustainability straight into universities.
The answer is yes, of course. Here is how:
- By using celebrity stories for a good purpose. Instead of writing about the latest breakup in showbiz, they can ask a famous person to talk about what they do for a more sustainable life style and what benefits that brings into their lives. If your favourite celebrity said that they pay attention to how much energy they use in their family or that they always recycled, would you not want to be like your idol? Celebrities are trend setters; they can make sustainable lifestyles the latest trend.
- If the media would start to give more attention to sustainability, their audiences would start doing the same. For instance some magazines include posters and facts about fair trade and the importance of buying Fairtrade products. Since Fairtrade started to appear more and more in the news, people started to be more aware of this. If only some magazines do it, though, it is not enough on it’s own. In order to spread the message to more people, we need as many publications as possible to promote sustainable shopping and sustainable lifestyles.
- By raising environmental awareness; the media can write about the negative aspects of using our natural resources unwisely and educate the population, not just entertain it. An example of using the planet’s resources unwisely is deforestation: if people knew how much deforestation impacts the world we live in, they might think twice before taking furniture to the tip which could be repaired or before throwing away that sheet of paper of which they only used one side. Deforestation affects the ecosystem by cutting down wildlife’s home and food.
The media can help the world by spreading the right information to the people, by reporting quality and sustainable news, by being informative as well as entertaining, and by using their power of influence in a positive way instead of using it in a destructive way.
You can be part of the change too! It is easier that you would think and it can be part of your routine. Share, tweet, upload pictures and write blog posts about the things that you do to be more sustainable and spread messages that will encourage your friends to be more eco-friendly as well. And why not challenge your favourite magazines to adopt sustainable journalism and focus on important sustainable issues too?
by student blogger, Irina Cristache