I have gone in many different directions when it comes to exploring the many relationships between mass media and the environment. It seems that the connections between the two grow more and more as technology becomes more advanced and environmental damages become more of a concern.

Celebrities speak out to younger generations to spread awareness of environmental problems:

Groups all over the world are organizing huge movements to help:

Animals and plants are directly affected by our damage to the environment like I talked about in my post about the M&M factory and the bees:

And one of my favorite subjects in relation to media and environment: the movies that inform and entertain (pictured below: “The Lorax”):

I think that the environmental issues that seem to keep getting worse are only going to increase as time goes by. However, the fact that the power of the media seems to be increasing at an equally fast rate is encouraging and sheds some light on a dark, sometimes hopeless-feeling situation for our beautiful Earth. Media has a power unlike anything else… the power to reach people and spread news and awareness on subjects that are crucial to our survival.

By:Bridgette Potts


One of the defining peices of technology for my generation is the electronic book, like the iPad and the Kindle. These are widly popular for many reasons, one of them being that everyone wants to be all tech-savvy to increase their awesomeness level, but the other is that these electronic books are thought to be better for the environment. Which seems perfectly legitimate, we don’t have to cut down so many trees to make trillions of sheets of paper to be used for the constant flow of books being published around the world.

But is it really that simple?

In this article by the New York Times, the benefits of e-books to the environment are examined, and the results are pretty surprising.

Many steps are examined, like the materials used to make the e-book versus a paper book. One single e-book requires the extraction of 33 pounds of minerals including exotic metals that are mined in war-torn countries like Africa. A regular book made with recycled paper inly uses 2/3 of a pound of minerals, and that’s really searching for an argument, because the article says most of that 2/3 of a pound comes from the gravel on the roads used to transport the books. “An e-reader also requires 79 gallons of water to produce its batteries and printed wiring boards, and in refining metals like the gold used … in the circuits”.

In the article, many more surprising comparisons are made in processes such as manufacturing, transportation, wasting energy reading on an e-book in the daylight compared to a book, and disposal.

I expected the comparison relating to disposal of the e-book and the regular book, but I was particularly shocked by this fact:

“If your book ends up in a landfill, its decomposition generates double the global warming emissions and toxic impacts on local water systems as its manufacture”.

The electronic industries that are making these e-books are working to decrease the amount of toxic chemicals used to produce the machines. But for now, the combined disadvantages to the environment for an e-book heavily outweigh those of an old-fashioned paper book. So instead of making a $200 investment on an electronic book, just go borrow a real one for free.


By: Bridgette Potts

Even when I was a kid, movies and television were very commonly used to teach me and just about every other child in America about the world around us. Media has been a crucial tool in education for quite awhile now. But that was 21 years ago. The amount of progress made by movies and television as teaching tools between now and then is astounding. Even more so now than when I was little, kids are being taught about the amount of damage we do to the environment and the importance of preserving it. One particular movie from my childhood sticks out in my memory as teaching me about rainforest destruction was the animated movie, Ferngully.

The movie teaches about the dangers of deforestatino and pollution. The main character is a fairy named Crysta. The movie says that humans and the environment used to live together in harmony, but now the very last rainforest in the world is in danger of being destroyed by humans. Crysta and her friends have to fight to keep the rainforest from being cut down and are successful, of course, because there’s nothing a determined fairy and her friends can’t do when they work together and fight for what they believe in!

Another movie that’s more recent (released in 2006: this will also show the amazing difference between technology now and then that I was talking about) is called Over the Hedge.

I saw this movie and I thought it was really cute and educational. The plot is a little different and less straight-forward than Ferngully (I guess kids these days are smarter than we were), when the forest critters wake up from their winter hibernation, they discover that a huge hedge has been put up and that behind it, there’s a huge new neighborhood. The movie is about the animals adjusting to their new environment, in both positive and negative ways.

Media has always been, and will continue to be a tool for education. Movies are used to teach kids morals, values and responsibilities, and it’s a good thing because upcoming generations have many responsibilities when it comes to the environment.

By: Bridgette Potts

I have focused on poaching and how it affects the environment in my blogs. I have tried to hit some continents that have the biggest problems with poachers and how or even if it covered in the media. My research found that it ranged from place to place. Some places would have journalists who would go out and inform the public but others it was hard to find anything. I believe this is parallel to how severe the country takes poaching. People in Asia hear about this a lot more than U.S citizens just because the Asian government has cracked down on poaching, unlike the United States.

Our world is made up of water, food and shelter. Our environment naturally give us this. These resources are REQUIRED for any species to survive and reproduce. We are someway all connected and we must have a clean, healthy and productive environment to thrive and live in.

However, poaching is one of the major reasons why OUR lives are being put at risk. Poaching not only kills wildlife but our environment. We have rules, regulations and seasons for legal hunting. This ensures that there are no overpopulation of a specific animal. However, almost the same amount of animals are killed illegally. If a mother is killed, her children will starve and cause a huge circle of unnecessary deaths.

Many of these that are poached are already endangered and they are slaughtered for their body parts so they can make medicine, ornaments, clothes, etc. Then some are only killed for fun. But most are killed cause its money. There are many black markets who will buy these animal parts and pay A LOT of money for them. It was reported that over 7,000 animals are sold online and estimated that $3.8 million is spent on illegal trade.


There are many organizations and people throughout the world who make it their top priority to stop poaching, but what can the media do? As journalists, we have a responsibility to the public to bring such issues, like poaching, and the problems they create, like harming the environment, to their attention. We should write about it in newspapers, magazines, books and blogs. We should broadcast it and make videos and films about it.

This is a serious problem and if it isn’t put to a stop, our environment will start to suffer drastically.


By: Abigail Tackett

These three A-listers are coming together to shed Hollywood’s spotlight on poaching with not one but two movies.

Tom Hardy, who most recently was seen in The Dark Knight Rises, allegedly came up with the idea of a movie that will focus on the ground war on poachers in the African savanna. This reportedly was inspired by some of his friends who are former Special Forces, who now are anti-poaching fighters in multiple countries.

The star shared the idea with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.

The trio will work on a film about animal poaching, which will be set in Africa. According to Deadline, Hardy will play a Special Forces soldier who trains rangers to fight off poachers who are wiping out the elephant and rhino populations in Zimbabwe.

The second film will cover the supply and demand issues of animals being poached and sold in places like… China of course!!! It is also suspected that this film will have a similar look and format to Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 crime drama Traffic, which is about a judge who is appointed by the United States President to fight the country’s war on drugs before finding out his own daughter is a drug addict.

DiCaprio will produce the film but all three of the actor’s production companies will be involved, Material Pictures (Maguire), Appian Way (DiCaprio) and Executive Options (Hardy).

This is just one of many of the eco-friendly projects that Leo has taken on. In 2010, he gave a $1 million donation to the World Wildlife Fund and was quoted as saying,

“Illegal poaching of tigers for their parts and massive habitat loss due to palm oil, timber and paper production are driving this species to extinction. If we don’t take action now, one of the most iconic animals on our planet could be gone in just a few decades. By saving tigers, we can also protect some of our last remaining ancient forests and improve the lives of indigenous communities.”

Maguire is also a Hollywood star who has done what he can to help the environment. He’s been a vegan for most of his life and it was reported that while filming in Australia it was reported that he sent back a Mercedes that had leather seats.

There have been very few films released that focus on anti-poaching.

There was a 3 minute, silent, black and white film called The Poachers made in 1903. It was about 3 hunters who surprised 2 poachers in the act. There is a gun fight and a couple of the hunters die. The cops and dogs show up and the chase continues but the poachers get away.

Here is one in Brazil which stars a jaguar who was actually rescued from poachers.   Brazil Anti-Poaching film

Recently on September 21, 2012, there was a movie called Snare that was released. This film is a dramatization of the genocide of the African Rhino. Here is the Facebook page with some information about the movie. Snare Facebook page

And watch the promo!!!!!!   


By: Abigail Tackett

One huge issue that’s being discussed in our country right now (always really, but more now with the election), is that of resources we use in our everyday life like gas and oil. We need these resources and they are limited… and destructive to our environment when we extract them from the ground they came from, and spill it into the sea… there’s a reason it wasn’t put there in the first place.
So why do we keep taking and taking what is impossible to give back? Because the world revolves around us and our needs, obviously.

We spend all of this time arguing about where we should and shouldn’t drill for oil, when the truth is WE SHOULDN’T BE DRILLING ANYWHERE! But unfortunately we’ve created a world that revolves around these resources which would cease to function if we ran out of them.

So, what’s the right thing to do? Think of  other options. What are our other options? Stop taking from what we know is going to run out so soon and let the earth catch back up.

The ocean is full of so many resources we could find new ways to use, like cobalt, copper, nickel and maganese.  We could stop taking oil from the ground to run our cars, boats, motorcycles, you name it. So much of the ocean is unexplored. The oceans account for 70% of the world surface and 60% of the floor of the ocean lies deeper than 2000 meters. The possibilities are endless, there are so many minerals in all this ocean… and we can find a way to use them for the things we so desperately “need”. It’s time to get creative here.

By: Bridgette Potts





Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam happen to all be connected through the Mekong river and because of this they have the 1995 Mekong Agreement. This agreement says that:

“Under its terms, the countries that share the Mekong agree to prior consultations on the possible cross-border impact of any development on the river before deciding to proceed.”

What Laos doesn’t seem to understand is that consultation consists of in a way, asking for the others permission.  When Thailand approached Laos about building a dam over the Mekong at Xayaburi, they of course were okay with it.

“Landlocked Laos is one of South-east Asia’s poorest countries and its strategy for development is based on generating electricity from its rivers and selling the power to its neighbours,” says the BBC’s Jonah Fisher in Bangkok.  


But the two other members of the Mekong Agreement did not feel the same. Cambodia and Vietnam felt that the dam should wait until proper research had been completed, and feared that the dam could pose danger to fish migration and the flow of sediment downstream.  Though Cambodia and Vietname voiced concerns, Laos not only gave a nod towards the dam but decided to announce it the first day of the Asia-Europe meeting that they were hosting!

“Bold, brave or perhaps a good way to bury the news? The Laos government chose to announce the dam would go ahead on the day it hosted one of the biggest summits in its history.”

The general consensus is that Laos thinks that they followed the 1995 Mekong Agreement because they heard what the others had to say and “brought in their own contractors” to fix any problems. But skeptics say the changes have not been tested and that it could cause problems.  Who knows if this will cause problems environmentally or if it will cause problems between the countries on the Mekong river…probably both.

-Ashira Alpren