Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Envrionmentalism in mainstream print culture

An interesting observation from Grist magazine:

Last year at this time, Vanity Fair and Elle tried a shocking experiment: they published green-themed issues. Could mainstream readers handle eco-news if it came in the shape of Julia Roberts and Evangeline Lilly (and, uh, Chip Giller)? Would green really prove to be the new black ink?

They could, and it would. After the success of last year's spring surge, a new crop of magazines is getting on board with the idea of going green -- if only for one issue. Glamour has just published a 10-page spread with eco-tips and an in-depth online guide. Perhaps more surprising: a recent cover story on climate change in Sports Illustrated. "We've reached critical mass," says SI Senior Editor Richard Demak. "It's time to address this in all venues -- why shouldn't sports be one of them?"

Four more glossies -- Country Home, Outside, Town & Country, and domino -- have put out green issues for April, and Elle is planning a reprise in May. "For the longest time, glossy magazines kind of stayed away from the green concept because they were a little scared of it," says Tom Farley, senior editor at Town & Country. "They thought that to go green meant that people had to wear hemp clothing or live off the grid in a yurt somewhere. As the movement has evolved, the choices have evolved too."

I actually think that mainstream print culture has attended to environmental issues previously in the last two decades, if sporadically ... but the definition of "environmental issues" and the frame in which they were addressed has likely changed. What do other folks think?

1 comment:

Christine Pawley said...

Just off the top of my head, it seems to me that the mainstream media have given lots of space to endangered species and threatened old growth forest, and even to things like recycling that don't really affect how or how much we consume, but less space to things that do impact our consumption, like energy conservation, including cutting down on air travel.

Interesting news the other day that Murdoch is pushing for cutting down the Fox carbon footprint. Is it greenwash? say some. But I don't think it's helpful to be too cynical.