July 19th, 2010 by Zachary Shahan
Biggest environmental story of the year? Ask 7 green bloggers and you get 7 different (but good) answers.
We’re a little more than halfway through the year and I decided to ask 7 leading green bloggers what they thought was the biggest environmental story of the year so far. I asked them to choose something other than the BP oil spill, since I thought that was sort of the obvious choice, but it turns out most of them wouldn’t choose that story anyway.
In the end, I got 7 interesting and completely different answers to this question. I think they are all great responses.
The specific question: “Other than the BP oil spill, what do you think is the biggest environmental story of the year so far?”
“Never underestimate the impact of the choices people make daily as the greatest environmental impact. From my perspective, the meal choices we make three times a day is tremendous. Which is a direct tie to our very broken agriculture system. The biggest untold story? As the president’s wife goes on tour against childhood obesity and food deserts, the president quietly keeps appointing Big Ag lobbyists and former employees to key positions that govern our food policy and safety. Seems to be quite a contradiction.”
Beth Bader is the author of Expatriates Kitchen, a writer on Eat Local Challenge, and co-author of the upcoming book The Cleaner Plate Club: Recipes and Advice for Getting Real Kids to Love Real Food.
“The decline in public concern for the environment that occurred while environmental news and communications were at an all-time high. Mainstream media coverage of the environment peaked late last year during COP15 and this year with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. But rather than increase the concern that Americans hold for the environment, it appears to have had the opposite effect. A Gallup Poll in April found that for the first time in ten years, Americans prioritized energy above the environment and another saw a nine point drop (from 70% to 61%) in the overall percentage of Americans holding a positive orientation toward the environmental movement in the past three years. In May a Pew Research poll found that less than a third of the public thought Congress should address Climate Change. These largely continue a trend in public opinion from last year: the more we talk about the environment, the less the public seems to think that it is an important issue. As always, there are extenuating circumstances. The global economic crisis put more emphasis on jobs and the economy. Political polarization seems to be at an all-time high. Climategate. etc. etc. But some of the responsibility for the declining public support likely lies with the environmental community. They need to take this as a wake-up call and commit to finding better, more convincing ways to talk about the environment. If they don’t, these numbers can be expected to get worse.”
Nathan is the director of public relations for POET, the largest producer of biofuels in the world. He is also a digital advocate of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He wants to help communicators improve their delivery of this information to the public in order to drive social change. He blogs about these topics on his personal blog, Greenway Communique and is a regular on Twitter. Nathan also contributes to the blogs of The Inspired Economist and 3BL.
“I think the biggest environmental story of the year so far is a war that is being waged under the Western radar: The resurgence of rhino poaching.
“In South Africa, the total number of rhinos killed so far this year (124) has surpassed 2009’s total (122).
“And during the World Cup festivities, seven rhinos were butchered in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
“The increase since 2007 is staggering:
2007: 13 rhinos killed
2008: 83 rhinos killed
2009: 122 rhinos killed
“This crisis threatens to undermine decades of conservation efforts. Let’s do something – before it’s too late.”
Rhishja Larson is the founder and Program Director for Saving Rhinos, a public awareness program focusing on the illegal trade in rhino horn. She shares news, opinion, and commentary on her blog Rhino Conservation: Rhino Horn is Not Medicine.
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