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Bright Green Environmentalism?

Topics: Clean & Green | Add A CommentBy admin | April 17, 2010

Bright green is the new black.


The NGO I work with is pretty bright
green. And even cheetahs know
that bright green is the new black.

So you think you’re pretty green. But are you dark green, bright green, or in between? We’ve asked how green you really are before, but this remains an interesting question in such a technology-driven society, because a lot of our choices have such far-reaching and difficult to trace consequences. The books vs. eBooks debate or drinking bottled water are classic examples. And then there’s that first question. You might not have even known the terms bright green and dark green existed. Yes, green is the new black; it’s hip to be environmentally conscious. But what then is your strategy? I’ve worked on media material for a non-profit called Amara Conservation since 2001. One topic that often comes up when working on press material in the non-profit world is positive vs. negative messaging. Do you strike terror in people by painting end-of-the-world scenarios, or simply focus on the positive work being done? It’s a tricky balance, because frankly, things are pretty bad in many sectors. In the case of Amara’s conservation and education work, you simply can’t overlook the fact that lion and elephant populations are dwindling at a shocking rate. But it’s a little ignorant to try to approach the problem strictly through laws and wildife management programs, it’s almost more important to help the people better understand how they win if wildlife thrives, and lose big time if wildlife fails to survive. And Amara is proof of how this works, doing education and conservation work with low financial overhead, and proven impact. Which is why I focus on the “bright green” side. I’ve always been a bit befuddled by the fact that, for instance, people have to be told that oil is running out, the world is flooding, and the fish we like to eat will all be gone in 50 years before they’re motivated to take action. Can’t a more efficient car, clean fresh air and simply managing resources be motive enough to use technology more intelligently? Bruce Sterling put it pretty well when he said “Nature is over. The twentieth century did it in… From now on, ‘Nature’ is under surveillance and on life-support. A 21st century avant-garde has to deal with those consequences and thrive in that world” I personally believe that future can be pretty bright, and that technology can be the solution rather than the problem.

It was Alex Steffen who is generally credited with having coined the term “bright green”. His book Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century and web site WorldChanging.com are both great starting points for pondering your shade of green.