Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Covering the environment in a new media world…

The Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School hosted a panel on Nov. 19 with new media communicators Bill McKibben of 350.org, McArthur of Free Range Studios, David Ledford of the Wilmington News Journal, and Brick Thornton of MediaGems.

As an introduction to new media, McArthur used clips from The Story of Stuff to emphasize that people responded overwhelmingly to Annie Leonard’s storytelling and having a chance to participate, make choices, and interact with the narrator, while David Ledford described the creation of the interactive Catching the Green portal at his newspaper in Delaware.

Brick Thornton gave a tutorial on viral sharing and the use of new widgets, APIs, and feeds on iGoogle and iPhones, while Bill McKibben announced the launch of 350.org as an attempt to reset the context of the post-Kyoto negotiations on climate change. Since the science has gone from consensus to panic in the past 18 months, this new initiative is focusing attention on the need for urgent action to lower atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to 350 parts per million.

This is the target identified by James Hansen of NASA, and McKibben argued that the only way it will happen is through a global agreement to reset the price of carbon. A follow up to the successful Step It Up national day of climate action in 2007, the new initiative to draw attention to this urgent priority is based on an international day of action set to take place on Oct. 24, 2009.