The, Unpredictable, Side, of, Sustainability, Conservation, Environment, Going Green, Nature, Social Media

The Unpredictable Side of Sustainability

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The Mister Splashy Pants logo that gained fame on the internet. Courtesy Wikipedia

In many ways, sustainability is about the long term. It is rarely ever about quick fixes or sudden glimmers of inspiration.

However, there are times that a small group of vocal people do some amazing things despite the adversity and can drive countries to change environmental policy.

This is possible now more than ever via social networks and social media. One such case happened only a few years back in 2007, on Reddit, when one member decided to post a “self” link – text which can contain a link (it’s all about accumulating “Karma” points on Reddit), suggesting that in a Green Peace Poll, Redditors vote to name a humpback whale Mr. Splashy Pants, over a range of much more “thoughtful” whale names.

The goal of the poll was to raise awareness of the GreenPeace ‘Great Whale Trail Expedition’ which tracks migratory patterns of whales from space. This is particularly importnat during Japanese whaling season. As Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian explains, the unpredictable happened, and it had a much larger impact than expected. Japan actually called off its whaling expedition.

While this may have been just a splash in the ocean in terms of sustainability and issue awareness. This brief TED-Talk clearly shows the power of social networks and that any effort to change behavior needs to strongly consider their impact.