Friday, September 15, 2006

If something worth doing...

I'm at it again! A post by the BBC Newsnight head honcho covering a few topical issues, from sugar-coating negative, major issues, to the potential cop-out of dumbing-down with gameshow techniques to generate interest from an apathetic (or plain overwhelmed?) audience has prompted my reply:

"Sugar coat, no. But the notion of incentivising, rewarding or at least boosting people's tendency to engage by whatever means work - is an interesting one, and one I happen to subscribe to.

Take my personal area of interest and activity, which is the environment. You have mentioned as a big issue climate change, and today was a good example. Some depressing stuff on the front pages, and grabbing the broadcast leads too. Your very own Ethical Man gracing my screen as I was rapidly losing my appetite for breakfast (not due to him, I stress, but the storyline itself, combined with a slight concern as to where my strawberry-dappled muesli and coffee actually came from).

Even with his noble example as inspiration (though I was struck by the intro piece that mentioned his [family's] efforts were (just) for a year - all back to 'normal' thereafter?) it came across as a bit 'doom & gloom' and 'well if that's the best we can manage taking it to the barest of bones, we're pretty screwed anyway'.

What struck me was how it came across overall as a pretty negative rough ride, and such benefits as there were erred more on the warm fuzzy, 'doing the right thing' feelgood variety, and not terribly much tangible on the personal front.

And when it came to the major problem areas that overhwelm the personal efforts, caused or overseen by business or government, it didn't seem too encouraging at all.

But maybe, just maybe, there are little pockets of proactive, positive hope that can cast light on a few trees in the woods, and where relationships can be established that do help, the environment... a bit... to serve to inspire, motivate and maybe even reward the individual, and just possibly can as a consequence be made to appeal to the short-term beancounters or pols who really can only see to the next fiscal or election.

Not all can afford a hybrid as a 3rd car or a solar panel. Low-energy bulbs, yes, though the fittings are an issue (and the bulb guys are coming up with adaptations daily... yay!). But while reusing a plastic bottle cap as Scout Woggle may not solve global warming overnight, if someone gets their head around having a bit of fun making rather than buying, repairing than disposing, and saving a bit of dosh and maybe a bit of time whilst doing something to save the planet rather than just talking about it, then that's a small step worth taking. Not to mention popping as many of such possibilities into storylines to help redress the balance what can often be some pretty heavy and hopelessness-inducing big issues can be worth it too.

So we'd love a mention for the likes of should you feel disposed. Making a very small positive difference to a big negative issue, and at the very least not costing anyone anything. How feelgood is that? "