Notes in the Margin

On the intersection of web apps, digital content and social media

Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

“What if social media was actually about social impact?”

In this article, Valerie Casey “called on designers, creators, developers and strategists in the interactive community to take on a leadership role, after having been “virtually absent” in the conversation around sustainability.”

The idea is that the Interactive community has “systems thinking in its blood”, and systems thinking skills are required to look holistically at the set of problems associated with sustainability:

It’s interesting to note the conflation of “interactive community” with “social media”, two technical arenas that are still distinct in my mind. Nonetheless, the argument is still interesting – and perhaps both disciplines can use their systems thinking to work toward more sustainable behaviors and choices.

via The interactive community’s next challenge: sustainability | SmartBlog On Social Media.

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Written by tstaley

March 22, 2010 at 6:57 am

Global Warming: No Big Deal? (The Atlantic)

It’s fascinating to understand what forces and influences cause people to change behavior. In the case of climate change, what will actually get each of us to moderate our consumption patterns?

I recognize that simply understanding the data and popular opinion does not affect me or others, but this post from The Atlantic cites a survey by Yale climate change research scientist Anthony Leiserowitz, which asked Americans, “Who will be most harmed by climate change?”

First of all, no group scored higher than 45% (Plant and animal species). Doesn’t that contradict the facts? As a population do we think that, yes, the climate will change but most of us think that it won’t have any operative effect on the biosphere?

It gets worse: 44 percent felt that future generations will be affected, which should give some pause to reflect on behavior. But only 10% felt that climate change would affect them personally.

No wonder nobody’s taking it seriously – 90% assume it’s somebody else’s problem

via Global Warming: No Big Deal? – Science and Tech – The Atlantic.

The article goes on to show differences on belief in the climate change crisis, based on political ideology:

Then there’s the gap between the believers and the non-believers. Some look at the facts and see potential disaster, while others see the same evidence and call climate change a hoax. Where does that gap come from? This is where the “cultural cognition of risk” comes into play. The position you take on an issue like climate change will in part be a reflection of your basic attitudes about the ideal society. Do you prefer a hierarchical society, with firm lines of authority and fixed economic and social classes? An egalitarian society, free of imposed economic and social limitations? An individualist society, with little government involvement? Or a communitarian system, with significant government and societal intervention to solve problems?

Hierarchists are often climate change deniers, because solutions to the problem threaten the economic status quo with which they’re most comfortable. Individualists, who, as a rule, resist the kind of social and government intervention that solutions to climate change will require, also tend to deny the problem.  Egalitarians and communitarians, on the other hand, generally believe strongly in the threat of climate change, since the solutions challenge entrenched economic structures, and require more government/social intervention—the kinds of societies egalitarians and communitarians favor.

Written by tstaley

March 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Sustainability