Now for a little environmental optimism. I’ve stumbled across Grist‘s clever side project, HopenSource a few times and would highly recommend swinging by next time you’ve got the chance. It’s a joint blog and twitter account (including its very own hashtag to allow everyone to join in the conversation) dedicated to the discussion of the good news in the environmental arena.
That’s right, you didn’t read that wrong. I said good news. In a field almost completely dedicated to approaching issues from an “Oh Lord, what have we done?” angle, I find the optimism to be refreshing. I’ve said it many times, one of the most basic obstacles to environmental progress is the ease with which everyday people get bogged down in the despair and general permeation of bad news, particularly in the media. This idea that because we’ve gone so far at this point, in terms of habitat destruction, climate change, toxic distribution, etc., there’s really nothing we can do on an individual level that would make a dent, and therefore no point in trying.
In fact, this perspective couldn’t be farther from the truth. Think about it, politics and business, two of the strongest driving forces in the move to institute environmental responsibility, are dependent on public opinion, on the loyalty and good will of their constituents and clients respectively. In that way, the power of change lies in the hands of individuals. Particularly when people move past the doom and gloom. Grist is choosing to focus on the things that we are doing right with this project.
HopenSource is an active, social media based response to that feeling of hopelessness and despair. While it might not make for particularly dramatic television, I really think Grist has found an important niche for non-sensationalized disaster-based environmental news in twitter and the blogosphere. As I’m writing this, there’s a great snapshot of a row of parked Priuses front and center on the site, something that I’ve been seeing more and more of lately. Recent blog posts include a bit on San Francisco meeting Kyoto Protocol goals, the growing popularity of electric cars, a successful electric bike sharing program, and a number of inspiring leaders in environmentalism on the subject of hope.
It’s funny how the word “hope” now almost automatically brings to mind images of Obama‘s campaign in 2008. But that word stuck for a reason. People like it. They like having it, they like hearing about it, and they like tweeting about it as well. So hey, if you ever need a bit of environmental cheering up, as we all do from time to time, swing by the HopenSource blog or twitter feed for a little inspiration. And if you’ve got a good example of why Earth isn’t as “effed” as we sometimes think, contribute and give the rest of us something to be optimistic about.