Back from Italy and the best cold coffee of year to date: double expresso, Raul’s café beside lake Trasimeno if you want a tip. But can I relax over a cold Nero in Haymarket? Can I heck. The sound of the office eco-warriors (Aitken, Harrison and Jennings) is drowning out any hope of peace. I hear there has been rain in England in July, quelle surprise. David Cameron, bless him, fled to Rwanda to avoid the downpour. Now the eco-botherers are parading the kitchen demanding I turn off my computer at all times. How will I do my timesheets?

So what does this green revolution have to do with Society2.0? I mean climate change existed before myspace surely? But I do think there is a change that transparency brings to these kind of social issues. It not only becomes easier to campaign using new media – to create petitions and share knowledge – but it also means it’s harder for whole social groups to do the head-in-the-sand act. Or to take an image from another animal fable, to fall asleep with the News of the World over your nose. In fact social researchers like futurelabs have defined a new wholesome generation of sunshine teens.

This generation not only cares about the climate but also other social issues including Africa (as Dave has worked out), and I do think greater accountability and democratic instincts fostered by the web is influencing this movement.

Now cultural gurus may insist that this do-good generation owes little to new communications and reflects a change in Zeitgeist. So we can engage on the whole Ostrich and egg debate, however, it is worth checking out Lucien Sfez’s thoughts on this and how we are hyping 2.0 whilst becoming slaves to idleness

So is the take out that this new caring trend is just faddism from a generation too lazy to pick up ideals and thoughts of their own, merely skin deep and nothing to the integrity of, say, Jack Kerouac and the beat generation?

I don’t know, the noise the eco-triplets were making seemed pretty real. And 40 degrees is hot even for Umbria ….

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Filed under society 2.0

5 responses to “SOCIETY2.0 AND LA DOLCE VITA?

  1. Ellen

    Well Jonathan, you raise some interesting points. I often think my contemporaries are jumping on the latest Coldplay style bandwagon, and you are right; it’s very easy to get swept up in a slickly marketed charity campaign and then forget about it straight after. The LiveEarth concerts are a case in point in my opinion. However, and this is speaking as a sunshine teen as you so kindly call me, there is a very real presence from people of my generation who genuinely care what happens to the environment and, certainly for me, its because we see the effects everywhere already. By the time I can go on holidays to Umbria and sip double espresso it will be even hotter….and half of Italy might even be underwater. Web 2.0 has allowed people across the world to show solidarity and prove they care about these matters. There are some people who just as easily join an eco campaign as they do an inane group on Facebook but perhaps they aren’t the serious eco warriors. For the vast majority who are, the web has been a great tool. I would like to think that my generation does have the same values and passion as Kerouac’s but perhaps that is a bit naïve. However, who knows what the beat generation would have looked like if the internet had been around then?

  2. Perhaps is your eco tech answer, although whether it can do your timesheets or not is another thing entirely… I’d also like to argue about the youth giving a damn about the world and their impact upon it – riots at the Primark opening in Oxford Street being a good example of a distinct lack of thinking behind product processes… I have just finished interviewing 33 youths about ethics and the environment… Overall, they do not seek information out, do not care for causes outside of their own, insular lives and simply expect big brands to make a difference without necessarily wondering if they damn do or don’t. The FL’s report on Sunshine Teens was – surely – more about their rebellion against Generation X… Generation Why, Why, Why are often being proactive to be petulant and flexing their youthful internet muscles to prove that – in a society that doesn’t truly give them a voice until their 18 – they can make a difference now, making or breaking brands from the corners of the playground… Sure, there are some ‘kids’ out there that are putting us all to shame and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them (, but these ‘kids’ are not the norm. Future Lab does not seek out ‘mass’, because then they negate their own, grandiose title – they seek out the itch that hitches itself to the tipping point, so are surely lending light to the fact that kids will become more militant and mindful as opposed to daring to suggest that the thousands of kids pouring in to Primark et al every week are there with pretty picket boards and a matching, neon protest march to boot…

  3. Jonathan

    So are you saying that the real eco-warriors are a niche that will go away and buy a hoddie at Primark eventually? I would hate to think of Ellen visting Umbria in such obviously Gen X influenced clothing surely it will never happen?

  4. David Brain posted something interesting on the removal of his bin yesterday on The real test for whether green is simply the new black – a changeable fad for a generation unacustomed to toil, war and shortages – is whether you can achieve real behavioural change. You may bemoan having to turn your monitor off at night – which, in all fairness we should be doing anyway as a cost-saving measure let alone a green issue – but if you build that into your every day lifestyle then it’s not a fad but real. Last week I wrote on about the younger generation (which sadly I can no longer consider myself part of) not understanding technology as a concept seperate to their lifestyles, its an organic part of their lives. That’s society 2.0. Just as conducting their social interactions on myspace and facebook is inherent to their daily routines, minimising carbon reductions is increasingly part of this too. Behavioural change is key. What behaviours have you changed without kowing about it to become greener? I bet there are a few if you think really hard….

  5. No, not saying any eco warrior sunshine teen would or indeed should go to Primark and am – instead – hoping that eventually teens will understand that for a pair of jeans to cost £6, there’s some serious ethical misconduct going on behind high street doors and that we see the end of such consumption.

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