Happy Monday! Or why it’s too easy to be Blue
Before I had kids I used to see myself as a bit of a songwriter. One of my enduring insights from that time is that is much more difficult to write a good happy song than a good sad song. For the latter, you only need to reach for a minor key, a slow tempo and some pseudo-intellectual phrases and you’re away. I could never get it right with an upbeat, positive song, so I used to fall back on scathing satire to make it work.
I find the same happens with sustainability news (or any news for that matter). It is very easy to create a headline from a negative story, much more difficult to be impactful with a positive one. So you get articles like this one from the Guardian’s Robin McKie which includes the line
“The trouble is that very little has been done in the past decade to trigger changes that might wean us off [the UK’s] fossil fuel addiction.”
That is utter nonsense. We have seen a renewable energy boom and a collapse in the coal-fired industry. OK, so the domestic heating/insulation sector and transport are proving harder nuts to crack and the Government should be putting this much higher up the agenda, but the picture is encouraging. Of course we need people like McKie to keep the pressure on, but the context is important or people will get despondent.
You can scale this up to the global level. Carbon emissions are stalling, as is population growth, and extreme poverty is falling fast, but you’d never know it from the press. The war isn’t won yet by any means, but our front lines are moving forward. Let’s keep the troops motivated!