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What Would Bono Do?

February 6th, 2007     by Elle E.     Comments

When I saw the alluring green cover of the latest Bitch magazine, my heart skipped a beat. I was excited to read their take on the recent surge of eco-tainment, but spoiler alert I’m sad to say they really dropped the ball.

In the editorial they confess we were a little sick of this issues theme before we even got started. After all, a parade of green issues preceded us in 2006, from Elle to Dwell to the Economist to Vanity Fair. So they rebel with an issue devoted to all things green, including pot, money and jealousy.

The broad theme is a cool idea on its own, but it’s prefaced by some serious eco-bashing. Explaining, green, after all, is associated with plenty of things not nearly as righteous as the likes of Bono might have you believe they admit they are reluctant to be just another magazine earnestly waving the flag for environmentally aware consumption, pondering the implications of global climate change, and enthusing about the awesomeness of driving a Prius and living in a solar-powered geodesic dome in the woods.

Hold up. Bono? Geodesic domes? I double check that I am in fact reading Bitch, and that they still offer a feminist response to pop-culture.

Yes, the Earth and we Earthlings have a mess on our hands. Its quite the kerfuffle, really, but there are exciting ways to be active, and inspiring people are making a difference. Life in a geodesic dome sounds pretty rad, but is really only one option.

Like feminism, environmentalism is diverse, exhilarating, frustrating, refreshing, humbling and empowering. Also like in feminism, taking an ecocritical viewpoint involves thinking about the political, social and economic structures that govern how we live on this planet. Its hard to communicate this kind of awareness, and even harder when we have to compete with stereotypes for credibility.

Its true that we get a little numb when the media gang up to shove one particular issue down our throats for long, intense periods of time. Its a natural reaction, but it also means that the truly important issues are perceived as yet another passing fad. So when we think critically about the ways corporate media may be selling a watered-down environmentalism (eco-chic as the cool du jour), we need to be careful not to dismiss real ecological issues at the same time. An irritating green fashion spread is not a reason to bail out of the conversation. Indie media can inject the discussion with new perspectives, analysis and opportunities for action. Ill be doing my best around these parts, and Id love to know your thoughts.

Tags: eco speak, media savvy

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