Turtuga Blanku interviews Simran Sethi
I am promoting the use of renewable energy through this
and my music.
But there are a lot of other people out there also doing something in their own special way to contribute
to solving environmental problems. I ask each interviewee only five questions.
We start out with Simran Sethi
, an award-winning eco-expert
and freelance journalist, who is creator and host of Sundance Channel's
The Good Fight
, a sustainable business contributor
for CNBC News
and a regular columnist for
The Huffington Post
1) Save the earth…why?
Today, when we hear the word "environment," most people think of the rainforests, or vast,
empty mountains and deserts—we think of nature. But it wasn't until the 1950s that "environment"
became synonymous with ecology. Before that, it simply meant whatever you were surrounded by.
So, your environment was your neighborhood, your backyard, your family and friends. It's important
to remember that when we talk about "saving the earth," we're not just talking about polar bears
or rainforests. We're talking about people.
The web series I created for Sundance Channel,
"The Good Fight"
environmental rights as civil rights. Every person deserves to have access to clean drinking
water, non-toxic air, nutritious food and a strong, healthy community. For me, environmentalism
is about protecting these rights for all people, whether they live in the shadow of a West
Virginia strip mine or down the street from a toxic chemical plant in East LA.
2) What, in your opinion would be the most realistic way
to solve the climate problems we are facing?
There are countless ways to get involved—just start with whatever you're passionate about.
If you love fashion, the ecofashion movement is pioneering organic cotton, vintage and recycled
fabrics, and fair labor standards. If you're an architect, you can get involved in green
building or Architecture for Humanity. If you're a mom or a dad, you can find out whether
your children's toys are made with lead paint, and use non-toxic cleaners in your home.
If you love to eat, you can explore the impact of your daily meals, and find a farmer's
market in your area. A great point of entry is what we buy. The first step is thinking
about how you can buy in a different way and the second step is thinking about how you
can buy less.
Beyond the individual, grassroots level, government policy is necessary to hold industries
accountable for their emissions and jump-start renewable energy industries like solar and
wind. We need to keep pressuring our local and national legislators and let them know that
this is a major issue that we want to see addressed, now.
3) Do you think that anyone can be -or has the personality to be- "green"?
Being "green" means paying attention, to the impact of what we consume and what we toss away.
It's not limited to the people who can afford to buy Priuses, or hippies wearing hemp mumus in
Berkely, California or Burlington, Vermont. As a journalist, I've met environmentalists all over
the world, and they don't fit into one particular profile.
Majora Carter's organization,
Sustainable South Bronx installs green roofs in the inner city. Christians for the Mountains
is an evangelical organization fighting mountain top removal coal mining in West Virginia.
Women in Steel, a division of the United Steelworkers Union, is leading a campaign against
toys made with lead. I moderated a panel with Al Gore, a well known Democrat environmentalist,
and for Treehugger radio, I interviewed Martha Marks, a member of Republicans for Environmental
Protection. Each of these people may come from different backgrounds, and have slightly different
values, but they've all found reasons and ways to fight for the environment.
4) How do you think music can contribute to protecting the environment?
Worldwide, I'll bet that more people listen to music than read the newspaper.
Music has a great capacity to reach people on an emotional level and inspire them to act.
The music industry is also a great example of how technology can offer alternatives that make
it easier to "green" our everyday lives. Some artists, like Jack Johnson and Ben Harper,
have produced records packaged in recycled cardboard sleeves rather than bulky plastic cases.
And thanks to computers and the internet, I can buy, store and play my M.I.A. and Rihanna
without wasteful packaging and shipping.
5) And finally: who would you recommend to also ask the questions you just answered?
and Robert Bullard
Thanks a lot, Simran!
Next up is environmental photojournalist
In Turtuga Blanku's 5Q-interview series so far:
1) Award-winning eco-expert Simran Sethi
2) Environmental photojournalist
3) Saxophone playing physicist turned journalist
4) Ecocity Builders' President
5) M*A*S*H actor
6) Filmmaker and sound designer
7) Environmentalist and agricultural activist
8) 'The World Without Us' author