On why mainstream media is unable to write about sustainability

I am often frustrated by the lack of depth in articles about sustainability. It’s as if all writers and “experts” are recycling the same content. We all feel this impending sense of climactic doom and want to make changes, but then we are fed the same tips we already know. I think I’ve discovered why this is happening.

It’s because the next steps are unknown, a vast unexplored area of low-carbon living. Heretofore, those pioneering this lifestyle ended up far off the grid, eschewing normal lives. Where are the pioneers looking for ways to be low-carbon while driving a car in a city?

I am one and there are not many of us. It takes a bold, rather radical, person to examine ones own lifestyle. To make changes considered gross, unsanitary, or socially weird. Which makes me the perfect person for such explorations because I have a strange lack of mindfulness for society at large and gross things (does that also make a sociopath?).

That also explains why those already with fame and a voice are struggling with these next steps. Al Gore comes to mind as the great voice of global warming, but his encore, the solution to the problem never appeared. This is nothing against the man, he did the world a great service, he is a champion of causes, he invests in green businesses, but he is probably not a radical pioneer of solutions.

I like to think of it as the Christopher Columbus problem. In 1492, there were plenty of great sailors and adventurous men, but very few willing to go beyond the horizon. I think we are at the same point now. Everyone wants to be green, some even desperately so, but who is willing to go beyond the horizon?

Not many, I suppose, and that’s the way it has always been. The world moves forward thanks to those crazy thinkers, like Albert Einstein, who have the right mindset, motivation, and skills to do so. They will be the ones pioneering the low-carbon lifestyle and showing the way for the rest of us.

We probably won’t find those folks in the mainstream media or in our celebrity roster. Instead, they will be found on the fringes writing on a blog. Talking about crazy things like an all farmers market diet or living zero waste. Sharing tips like how to drink coffee¬†or making your own sunscreen. All that we crazies ask of you, the reader, is to show your support. Let us know what you need help on, comment with your experiences, and email us your questions (steve [at] 1X57.com).


Here’s to the crazy ones:

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  1. Steve,
    Good post Steve. You’re absolutely right: There aren’t many in the MSM that are talking seriously — or for a sustained period (pun intended) — about sustainability.
    As you point out, much of the dialogue/monologue on the topic is in the blogging community. I read/subscribe to The Archdruid Report. His blog is a “peak-oil” -ish blog that is focused on what will happen/how we’ll behave/how we’ll live after cheap oil becomes increasingly difficult to extract. (Here’s just one of his posts: “Waking Up, Walking Away” http://goo.gl/l3pxP).
    I’ve noticed you’ve cited James Kuntsler’s blog (http://www.kunstler.com/index.php) before. He needs to dial it back a notch before his views are even listened to (much less respected) by the MSM and -peak-oil skeptics alike.
    By contrast, the Archdruid is quietly publishing the truths we need to hear, as well as the ways we have at our disposal — albeit with some EFFORT on our part — to deal with the “end-of-cheap fossil fuels” reality that is surely coming.
    His posts in 2010 & 2011 on “green wizardry” present ways (& lifestyle changes?) that can help on deal with coming hardships caused by the (precipitous) decline in “cheap oil”: solar stoves, worm-bin composters, etc. Good stuff, some of which hearkens back to the 1970’s (oh, if we had listened!).
    The Archdruid’s long, well-researched posts are a welcome addition to my RSS feed delivery.
    Keep up the good work, Steve. here and at your other site/FB page (A Clean Life).

  2. Michelle – thanks for the comment and praise. Also, thanks for pointing me to Archdruid too. He’s very interesting and though I might disagree about the hardship part, we seem to think in similar ways. – Steve

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