T323: Television News

Aside from short clips with a blog or on Democracy Now, I haven’t watched television news since Katrina. When I have watched these clips, or read transcripts or a summary of the news – I am disgusted with how stupid it seems to me. Sadly, this opinion became a bone of contention between my BFF and I because she watches corporate news and I won’t. Similarly, she doesn't read the blogosphere, so we hit an impasse. My gut says that we may be more at ease since the elections because the outcome was so positive. Update: Just as I was posting this I got a wonderful card from my BFF. I am hugging her.

But, back to television news . . . Today I found the following in the gmail inbox:

Hi Kate,
Just discovered make-a-(green)plan and am addicted already. I am working on a project for ABC News that covers some of the same topics you address in your writing. The program is going to be pretty formally ambitious, and it will include a fair amount of viewer-generated content. I'm in the process of contacting some of my favorite green bloggers and sustainability-focused organizations to see if they are interested in participating. Details are below, I would love to talk more about the project if you have any questions. Thanks so much for the great site; look forward to reading more!
Lynn R. Levy

ABC News All Media
157 Columbus Avenue
4th Floor
New York, NY10023

ABC News wants YOU to report from the future

In an unprecedented television and internet event, ABC News is inviting you to help imagine the future. In our upcoming two-hour special, Earth 2100, the world’s brightest minds will explore two alternate paths through the coming century—one leading to the collapse of society, the other to a world of exciting possibilities.

Earlier this year, we asked viewers to create short video reports documenting the worst-case scenario many experts have predicted—a perfect storm of climate change, population growth and resource depletion that could destabilize our world. You can view the impressive results on our website, http://earth2100.tv

Now we are asking you to show us another path. What kind of future can we hope for if we act now to create a more sustainable world? What kind of homes will we live in, what kind of food will we eat, how will we communicate with each other? What choices will we need to make in order to get there? And what is happening right now to propel us in the right direction?

Below you will find guidelines to help you create a short video report. You can choose to report from the present, from the year 2050, or from the distant future in 2100. We will select some of the most compelling videos to appear in our primetime ABC News broadcast Earth 2100, airing in early 2009.

This is a unique chance to join others around the globe in creating a future we can all look forward to.


Scenario 1: Document what’s happening right now, in your community, to create a more sustainable future.

Use one of our suggestions below, or generate your own:

Are wind turbines generating renewable energy in your region? Show us the turbines and tell us about the positive impact they’ve had on your community.

Are you retrofitting your house or office with solar panels? Let us know why you made the switch and show us the results.

Do you have access to a plug-in car? Take us for a test drive.

Are you raising vegetables on your porch, chickens in your yard, or grass on your roof? Show us what you’re working on.

Scenario 2: The year is 2050 in our sustainable future.

Because of damage caused to our ecosystem before 2009, we have experienced some of the negative effects of climate change, including a moderate rise in temperatures, worldwide food and water shortages, and a general economic downturn.

But because of ambitious positive changes made by governments, businesses and individuals over the last 40 years, things are finally starting to improve. Speaking directly into the camera, talk about the hard choices you have faced and let us know why you are optimistic about the future.

You can use one of our suggestions below, or create your own:

You lost your job in the automotive industry, but were able to get re-trained in solar panel installation and maintenance. Now you are able to earn a living and support your family again.

Some of the things you used to buy at the supermarket are no longer available, or are too expensive. But you have become interested in organic farming, and can now supplement your diet with fruits and vegetables grown on your own rooftop garden.

To reduce population growth, you have chosen to have only one child. Even though the decision was difficult, you feel better knowing your child will be growing up in a sustainable world.

Scenario 3: The year is 2100 in our sustainable future.

All the positive changes and hard choices made over the last 90 years have resulted in a truly sustainable world. Although we have given up some material comforts, our lives are fuller and richer.

Tell us about the exciting new world you’re living in.

Some of the things you might be experiencing include:

Humans have stopped using fossil fuels. Our minimal energy needs are met using low-cost sustainable sources, including solar, wind, wave-generated, and other innovative energy sources that were not even on the horizon in 2009.

Cities have become smaller, denser and more vibrant. People who live in urban areas are able to walk everywhere, making cars obsolete. The cities are also greener, with plants and animals integrated into the urban environment.

People who live in rural areas can keep in touch using communications technologies, and can work from home instead of commuting.

Due to advances in genomics and nanotechnology, there is a lower rate of disease and average life spans have increased.

Environmental issues are dealt with collaboratively, on a global scale, with cooperation between nations.

Without much thought I dashed off the following:

Lynn, I am delighted you have read and enjoyed my blog. What's not to like about this kind of praise and attention? But, I must decline any involvement with the project. I don't trust the Corporate Media to get it right in any way. Everything I have ever seen has used stories, blogs like mine as irritainment and for titilation. That doesn't interest me in the least.

But, as an individual I would love you to continue to read make-a-(green) plan.

Regards, Kate

Did I mention I find architectural competitions, and public submissions as competition exploitive?

Update: Jeebus, I followed the link and it was a disgusting concept of fear-based survivalist crap. Of course it was.

Image Banksy

Update 11/19/08: Reply received
Hi Kate,

Thanks for your reply, sorry to hear about your reservations. I do think this project has the potential to get it right -- even if you won't participate, I hope you'll watch.

In any event, keep up the good work!



etbnc said...

See also, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, by Neil Postman.

katecontinued said...

Looks like exactly what I am talking about, thanks.