Where do you get your news?

Murders, political scandals, celebrity escapades ... mainstream media feeds a willing public a steady diet of it.  The American public spends hours on the stuff, immersed in the horror tales and vapid sagas all played out on bigger-bigger-still-bigger plasma screens. 

But in the early 1990s I figured it out:  you don't have to read the news.  You don't have to watch the TV, you don't have to listen to the radio, you don't have to take the "news" as media dishes it out.  You can turn it off.  You can step aside. 

Ostrich with head in the sand?  Hardly.  Mere months into my 1990s experiment, I learned that if it's important enough you'll hear about it.  Despite not listening to TV or radio, I learned of the Oklahoma City bombing within hours of it happening.  We learned of 9/11 as the second plane hit.  You don't have to spend hours glued to the TV daily to find out about these things.

The relentless pounding of mainstream media daily, hourly, minute-by-minute, and now second-by-millisecond, sends us a perpetual message of how messed up the world is.  All of it is sculpted and crafted for maximum sensationalist delivery.  All of it has the spin of the advertisers and the industrial growth complex:  more, more, more, because growth is good and lack of growth is terrifying.  It's intentionally designed to bring out that adrenaline feeling within us of panic and helplessness.  All of it misses the point on what's really wrong (peak oil, resource depletion, overpopulation, misguided premises ...).  And none of it is oriented toward solutions.

Real solutions aren't shiny, glossy, sensational.  As an apple tree grows its solid and substantial root base, you don't see too much visible action above ground.  Like a tomato ripening in the sun, real solutions are slow to grow and develop, so they don't cooperate with sound-bite speed.  They don't capture the limelight.  They rarely get mentioned in mainstream news.

As we set out to build a movement, it is challenging to stay positive.  Particularly when you're being fed a daily diet of horror tales.  That's why we need to surround ourselves with positive news.

At our Environmental Change-Makers meetings (the initiating group for Transition for many areas of Los Angeles), we begin each meeting with an activity we call Positive Environmental News.  This is a time when people bring out the good news stories.  What positive news have you heard in the press, in the community?  California won the greenhouse gas emissions lawsuit with the EPA.  The local power company refused to renew the coal contract.  A Transition-knowledgeable person is running for State Assembly.  You have to hunt to find it, that's why all of us looking together can come up with quite a list!  What have you been doing in your own life, what positive steps have you taken?  That's Positive Environmental News too!  I planted my vegetable garden.  I bicycled to farmer's market.  My chicken laid her first eggs!  Where else can you get a round of applause for setting up your composter?

On my desktop browser, my bookmarks are for sites where I'll find positive news like Transition Culture and the new Transition Times out of Colorado.  I find solutions-oriented sites like City Farmer and Homegrown Evolution where people are experimenting with the ideas and lifestyles of the future and sharing their results.  I visit beautiful sites that warm my heart, like the gorgeous photos at Earth Home Garden.  In these places I know I will find like-minded authors who are not only well-aware of the problems we face, but are actively working to solve them.  Here I know I can find reinforcements to shore me up when my own courage falters.  Here I know I can find things to warm my heart and encourage me to continue the job of trying to rebuild society.

Our Transition Los Angeles group has a simple blog for local happenings and a Yahoo discussion group where members can swap articles and resource links.  True, sometimes it's the latest study of ice shelf melting that gets posted, but just as often our discussion is about good ideas for Transition.  In Los Angeles we've elected to stay with the simpler versions of technology so as not to exclude the diverse people we hope to bring on board this positive and proactive movement.

On sites like these, you'll find that the concept of time is rather different than on the mainstream "news" sites.  Rather than the millisecond post, these positive news sites might post once a day, or once a week, or once in a while.  Welcome to a more realistic sense of time.  Like the apple tree and the tomato, real news happens like that.  And like the local apple and the heirloom tomato, it's luscious and fulfilling and well worth the wait.

That mainstream media stuff might be called "news," but how "new" is it really if it's the same old rehashed stuff, built upon the same misguided paradigms?  REAL NEWS is that which is boldly setting out into the new pattern, the new direction, the path of our resilient future. 

Why not change your browser over to REAL NEWS and allow it to support you and shore you up in your Transition efforts.

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