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Despite diversion of many media about what’s important, actions happen

Media can inspire and inform.

Media can also overwhelm as one TV “news” info-tainment 2016 summary did.  The review of the year’s events and people stories unfolded were hyped with music background and quick switches.  It gave a different view of people—celebrities, politicians (of course), sexy women, entertainers, wealthy, powerful people—from the lives of people I encounter every day.

When news is numbingly overblown, not the everyday reality of people, it can stifle action, blinding and binding people to sit glued to their screens and digital devices that produce so much news it’s hard to keep up.  The intentionally addictive news approach creates artificial anxiety to compel viewers to come back for more, giving more eyes to be appealed to by slick ads that create other false views of needs and promises of ways to fulfill them.

It can be so overwhelming, it’s easy to forget people who are still suffering, for example, from the earthquake, political corruption and then a hurricane in Haiti. 

Even coverage of weather is often so hyped that natural disasters—fires, floods, windstorms, drought and hurricanes lose their impact.  I’m thankful that many faith and nonprofit organizations have the ongoing mission of responding to the long-term ramifications of those traumas.

With some sort of “victory” by Assad in Aleppo, will we lose the images of the devastation there to lives lost, people displaced and buildings in rubble?

Just as I’m ready to be discouraged that there’s nothing we can do to make a difference, because the onslaught of negative keeps coming, refreshing information came from online advocacy programs making a dent for the good.  Many unfortunately continue to make strong appeals related to how bad things are to raise more funds.

Sierra Club, however, reported that even though the world continues to heat up, whether political leaders wish to see it, response is also heating up.  Clean energy sources are out-competing dirty fuels like coal, gas and nuclear power.  Cities and states continue to adopt commitments to 100 percent clean energy.  Private-sector partners continue to join in supporting clean energy and smart transportation.

More than 2.5 million Sierra Club “champions will continue doing what we’ve always done best.  We will show our children and grandchildren the wild places and creatures that inspire and fill us with awe for the beauty of our planet. We will nurture new generations of leaders to fight for the Earth,” Sierra Club said.

Sum of Us, another online advocacy program, cited hope in having a “strong and powerful community” that helped in 2016  to achieve several wins:  France became the first country to ban neonics, bee-killing pesticides. With solidarity from hundreds of thousands of people, the people of El Salvador won a lawsuit blocking an Australian company from mining gold.

People power brought challenge to the Dakota Access Pipeline and its disregard for sacred Native American sites and clean drinking water, and the Army Corps of Engineers called for rerouting it.

Those are but a few examples of how a now emboldened movement of organizations is intensifying their challenges to environmental degradation for profit, human rights abuses, suppression of voter participation, a new nuclear arms race and religious intolerance. 

When people, especially those empowered by faith, join in solidarity they can make a difference.

As 2016 ended, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama at Pearl Harbor 75 years after the Japanese attack called for “friendship and lasting peace.”  Abe offered “sincere and everlasting condolences” and called for tolerance and reconciliation.  He recalled how the United States helped rebuild Japan, its former enemy, after the war. 

Mary Stamp - Editor

Copyright © January 2017 - The Fig Tree