It’s not uncommon to hear reports of stock prices, inflation, and GNP numbers with most news broadcasts these days. As Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Terry Link argues, maybe it’s time for the media to give similar regular reports of environmental indicators to increase our mindfulness of our environmental health:
It is not an infrequent occurrence to hear reports of stock prices, inflation, and GNP numbers with most news broadcasts these days. As Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Terry Link argues, maybe it’s time for the media to give similar regular reports of environmental indicators to increase our mindfulness of our environmental health.
There’s an old adage that you are what you measure. So by that standard, how do we appear? Look at what the media tell us…
“The Dow Jones tumbled 170 points on heavy trading of more than 1 billion shares.” “Consumer confidence is lagging, dropping 0.2 percent from last month’s figure.”
“Wholesale prices rose 2.3 percent for the month, hinting that demand for products may once again signal a rebound in the economy.”
You get the picture.”
Given the standard then that you are what you measure, it should be no surprise that we have become simply homo economus.
By constantly trying to measure wealth by GNP and stock prices, we idolize consumption while we devalue much of what gives life its true meaning; namely our connections to each other and with the marvelous and mysterious spinning sphere that provides us with life.
So I believe it’s way past time to give us equivalent daily reports on the health of our biosphere.
Why not report on the spread or decline of disease in humans, animals and plants? Or give regular updates on receding glaciers, severity of storms. Or increased rider ship on mass transit and its affect on reducing pollution? A daily report might sound like this:
“Energy consumption was up briskly in June. But on a bright note the percentage of power generated from renewable resources climbed 25% faster than the overall increase. This has resulted in an overall drop in greenhouse gas emissions despite the rise in overall consumption”
How about we start reporting not only agricultural production but also the inputs –Michigan saw its consumption of lettuce produced locally climb by 19% from last year, as local growers were more effective in marketing locally grown food. This boost in the state economy is welcomed. The diminished transportation need of locally produced food has other advantages for state residents. The reduction of air pollution, traffic congestion, and noise with a simultaneous increase in the freshness of produce is even a bigger benefit for consumers
We must understand that the condition of our air, land and water is more important than fluctuations in our stock portfolios. Making environmental information more prominent and regularly available as we do with stock prices and business reports is a step toward crucial mindfulness.
We might even copy a Wall Street/business reporting model and highlight a socially and environmentally responsible firm or organization that is developing products, services, or processes that help build more sustainable communities.
We need all the hope we can find. We need to nourish the entrepreneurial spirit towards community solutions. And we need the mass media to give more of its news hole to report daily on the indicators of total community health, not simply the financial numbers. We ignore our environment at the peril of our children and grandchildren. By offering regular daily doses of the health of our planet, the media will be a more responsible partner in its recovery. By making visible more measures of what we value we just may nurture a transformation to a more sustainable society.