Hey, how about this? It’s been six months since we launched this environmental section we call “Green Space.” Wow, six months. That’s half a year. That qualifies as an anniversary, right? At the very least, it’s what we in the business call a news hook. That means I have license to consume 800 words or so discussing the past and, more important, the future of “Green Space.”
First, a scorecard. How well have we lived up to the promises we made when we launched this section in April with an article called “Claiming Green Space”?
We said that we would supply you with practical tips, the kind of information you need to go and stay green. We’ve done fairly well in that area, at least if you count our weekly “Green Tip,” but we could do better. I would like to have more clip-and-save, how-to pieces in this section.
We promised that we would deal with such serious topics as new energy sources, air and water pollution, public transit (or the lack thereof) in the Birmingham area and the possible impact on northern Jefferson County of the proposed new Northern Beltline freeway. We haven’t yet covered all of these stories, but we will. On the plus side, Madison told you about the efforts of Black Warrior Riverkeeper to monitor water pollution in the area in “A ride with the Riverkeeper” and went to his home turf of Livingston to write “Green hope in the Black Belt: biofuels come to west Alabama.”
We said that we would write about opportunities for recreation in the area, including nature centers and hiking trails. To that end, we told you about the recent opening of the new Turkey Creek Nature Preserve near Pinson, and Madison wrote about the new Red Mountain Park in “A peek through the privet.” We have also tried to keep you abreast of outdoor events and volunteer opportunities, such as the “Renew Our Rivers” waterway clean-ups.
As promised, we have offered profiles of people who are trying to improve the environment in our area. I wrote a piece about local green activist Pat Mitchell called “Taking pride statewide: Auntie Litter's environmental conference” and told you about the Birmingham appearance of noted Christian environmentalist Matthew Sleeth in “New-age testimony: getting green with Jesus.”
We promised that we would write about new, fresh topics, such as green fashion, green travel and green philosophy. I want to do much more of that, but remember my piece on green sex called “The sexy side of the green movement”? I really liked that one — especially the bigger, longer, uncut version online.
We also vowed to make this section entertaining. I hope to hell we’ve accomplished that, especially in the irreverent, often profane “Green Briefs” that Madison and I crank out each week. For example, Madison recently contributed such gems as "Turning poop into petrol" and "That's f**king teamwork!" I had some shits & giggles with tantalizing tidbits like "Stay of execution for 'The Hoff,'" "Dude, check out the sea birds!" and "Does Jane Goodall eat peyote?"
We have also tried to highlight the entrepreneurs in Birmingham who are creating businesses based on green principles. In “As the worm turns,” I described my visit with the guys at J3 Organics, who make a soil amendment using worm shit. In “Technical Knockout’s hard-hitting entrepreneurship,” I told you about a local recycling firm that strives to keep electronic debris out of our landfills. And freelancer David Feltman contributed “Deconstruction & construction at KMAC Greenworks,” about a Birmingham company that reuses old construction materials.
These types of stories are important to me because, as we suggested in April, the goals of environmentalists and those of capitalists do not have to be in conflict. “Green Space” is where green meets green, where a desire to protect the environment meets a desire to create wealth and employment. It is this radically centrist view that I would like to work even harder to refine and express in the coming months.
Madison and I also want to do a better and more thorough job of covering all of the important local stories that have a green angle. Perhaps most important, we want to involve you as much as possible, dear reader. “Green Space” belongs to you, too. Are we right on? Are we missing something? Let us know.
Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
You will soon have another way to involve yourself in “Green Space” — by becoming our fan on Facebook. Look for an announcement of the launch in the next few days on our website and in our print edition for Oct. 29.
And whatever you do, please keep reading — both in the newspaper and under the “Green Space” heading on our web site at www.bhamweekly.com.