Ten years ago when I founded a news blog to help Israelis become more environmentally aware, green and eco news reporting was badly needed. Trash was being thrown everywhere, air pollution was unchecked, people ate a lot of sugar and processed food –– and Bamba. I’d been writing for some leading media companies in the United States, and coming from Canada was primed well on how to be more naturally-inclined, asking questions all the time.
There was so much work to do, and there still is, but today we need to rebrand. Eco, green, sustainable isn’t this approach out? We need a new name.
In the business world we are calling it Impact Capitalism and there is a nice fit in the high-tech movement in Israel which I am a part of. So it’s no longer about greening your world or eco-fying everything from your playlist, wedding or Seder, but making an Impact on everything. Those in the know understand that this means impacting society, making it healthier, more interesting, more diverse, while caring just as much for resources, such as plants and animals. Just think about Waze and how this Israeli tech helps us spend less time (and gas) on getting where we need to go. Most of the time, anyway. That’s Impact tech.
The problems I saw in the green movement is that the people I’d interface with always tied me to a political platform, assuming that since I was writing eco news I’d be voting for the green party in Israel. If the media wants a fair and honest portrayal of the news, journalists and bloggers do need to keep their political choices off the radar and constantly ask contrarian questions that put them in the place where other people aren’t. This helps us see new angles.
In the beginning, I started out wanting to cover Israeli environmental news, touching on issues such as water, desert plants, design, and social issues, and quickly expanded to covering issues in the entire region going as far as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. While I devote less time to this mission now, I still have informants that send me tips from Iran, Turkey, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, because in their countries talking about environmental issues to the media can get you in jail, or worse.
So much has changed in the last 10 years. When I started it all container building was the hottest thing (it’s not all that!), oil prices were off the charts forcing people to want to buy into electric cars and solar energy schemes. Upcycling products and just plain recycling was pretty hip.
I’ve grown a bit tired of my recycled rubber wallet, and I am still waiting for solar energy to make sense in a capital market. But I do see what’s evolved for the good is social tech, or Impact tech. Or at least the idea of it, despite it not working that well in practice for, let’s say, UBER drivers who complain of exploitation.
In general, after 10 years, I am happy about where the world is going. Are you? And what would you call this movement? Impactivism? I need a new name. Help me out.