The past decades have seen the rise of two trends: the explosion of digital and its importance in our lives, and the growing ecological consciousness among citizens. It seems that today’s society is torn between the consequences of these two phenomena. On the one hand, the temptation to dive into the consumerist era in which every iPhone launch is an excuse to spend hundreds of dollars. While knowing perfectly the downsides of this action. On the other hand, the wish to preserve Mother Earth and its resources that are quickly disappearing. Digital has helped condemn this consumerist era and has increased the ecological awareness of people. In what ways?
1. Thanks to New Information and Communication Technologies (NICTs), the information circulates faster.
(Almost) everyone has a better access to information. There has been a takeover of the green movement in Western European countries in the last years. People can share on social media, post articles, videos or pictures about topics they relate to. The best example of this would be the petition L’Affaire du Siècle (see below). On December 18th of 2018, a group of NGOs published a video on Youtube. In the latter appeared the most famous Youtubers, actors, and activists, all asking people to sign their petition. A signature would help them take the French Government to justice for not respecting their promises regarding the environment. In just a few days, it turned into the French most signed petition, with more than 1 million signatures. Today, they have collected more than 2 million and are willing to go even further.
Another example of this is what is happening right now in Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and France. Huge amounts of young people are protesting against their governments and their inaction towards the climate. Digital has made it easier to spread the information and rally many people behind a cause. Youngsters want to change the world they will live in for the coming decades. And digital has helped them make their voice heard. People share their stories on social media, journalists write articles that will be transmitted on all digital platforms. Clean walks are organised in numerous cities to pick up the litter. Young influencers are at the starting point of this process, uniting thousands of clean walkers in one place to clean a city.
Thanks to the NICTs, the environmental movement has gone viral. It has increased the awareness among the population.
2. This whole ecological realisation is especially strong among young generations.
The power of social media is going well beyond the notion of “virality”. It has become the latest trend to show everyone how green we are on our social media accounts. Posting photos of our meat-less meals, sharing about our new vegan diet, explaining everyone how consuming local organic products is better. In parallel to this trend, the business of lifestyle apps has been flourishing. Apps such as 90 jours, Yes We Green, Smart Cycle, or TooGoodToGo help you be more environmental-friendly in small steps. Very easily now, thanks to digital, you can know if one product is good for the environment or not. You can get hand-me-down products and give a second life to objects. You can even find free food that would be thrown away otherwise. Digital has helped increase the ecological awareness by making it easy to go green.
3. Digital lets us have access to a lot of information about the world.
We can see what is happening elsewhere. We realise how quickly the Earth is getting damaged. By creating feelings such as terror, anger, outrage or even sadness, it makes us want to change our habits to compensate for other people’s behaviour.
Thanks to the trends that we’ve mentioned above, we can easily find tricks to go green, inspiration from other people and the wish to share our new habits online.