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Chapter 6: Creating Change through Our Media

You may say that I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one. — from "Imagine" By John Lennon

In John Lennon's song Imagine, he asks us to join him so that the world can recognize that we are all in this dream together.

I admit that I too am a dreamer, and I really do believe most of us are. I can't say that I have met anyone who does not dream of "peace on earth, good will to man." We are aware that this world we live in, this planet Earth, is the only one in our solar system (that we presently know of) that will support us as a species. We also know that there are dead zones in our oceans, contaminated soil, toxic air, and polluted water. Most governments and scientists are now admitting that humans are responsible for the severity of climate change.

The World Wildlife Fund, an independent organization that turns up every couple of years with its Living Planet Report, has grown increasingly concerned about Earth's capacity to sustain life when rising populations refuse to curb their appetites. By the WWF's measure, since the 1980s, we have been consuming Earth's resources faster than Earth can produce them and faster than it can absorb the results. A moderate, business-as-usual calculation based on the "slow, steady growth of economies and populations," indicates that by 2050, humans will demand of nature twice what nature can provide. It's a striking image, that at the current rate, humanity will need two planets' worth of resources to do in 2050 what it was doing in the 1980s.

Such ecological warnings come so often that they risk being treated as background noise: "The world's in danger, yada yada." But as the effort to combat global warming shows, the world is waking up. We are being reminded that the planetary emission of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels was eight times higher in 2003 than in 1961. Individuals are beginning to want to curb their excesses and are looking for energy efficiency, and with this change in the attitudes of people, governments may have greater resolve to send the right price signals to encourage conservation.

Images are compelling, and the mental picture of our soon needing two planets remains striking. Presently we've just got the one at our disposal.

The Role of Media

Imagine television and the written media airing regular programs telling the good news around the world—programs that amplify the actions of the millions of wonderful people who are already actually making a huge contribution towards healing this planet. Would that not give us hope and the desire to be part of this movement of change? Would we not want to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem?

Imagine on-going television programming giving witness to the wonderful deeds and heroic acts of individuals, communities, and organizations where kindness and love are reinforced.

This would bring real change; our children would see this as the norm and would act accordingly. Our teenagers who are healthily trying to push the boundaries would...

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