Popular Culture and the Environment

By: Derek

For many Americans, popular culture serves as the medium for translating current events and social issues. The typical American wakes up in the morning and turns on the news or grabs a newspaper to accompany them for breakfast. Later, at work or in school, they will check their emails and social networking accounts, surf the internet and listen to music. After arriving at home from a long day of work, they will watch television and go to bed with a good book. Eventually, with enough exposure from popular culture artifacts, we will begin forming a general understanding of current events and our personal opinions about them. Lately, many new concerns have arisen in our society and have not so surprisingly been translated through popular culture; this is the topic of environmental sustainability. With a rapidly increasing population, a depleting ozone layer and the threat of global warming, Americans are more immersed than ever in environmental activism.  With this new sense of urgency to act, popular culture has become more intertwined with people’s environmental beliefs and values. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about changing weather patterns, eroding beaches, and the dying off of endangered species. More and more companies are advertising themselves as environmentally conscious. Even famous musicians are collaborating and promoting awareness through their music.

But the question is, is this just a fad? Is this just another way for large corporation to capitalize on the paranoia of society as a whole? The answer is absolutely not. These events and crises have been scientifically proven. Though many businesses and corporations will use their new awareness as a marketing scheme (maybe even promising more than they can provide), it is a movement in the right direction. This is an instance where popular culture is being used as a tool to promote positive change. The power of mass media is unmatched.

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