The Psychology of Green Thinking
Radio talk show host Meredith Medland is an eco-thera-jouralist
By Justin Nobel
“Living Green: Effortless Ecology for Everyday People” is one of 15 weekly podcast shows featured on Personal Life Media, a new lifestyle website. “Living Green” isn’t your typical eco-news outlet—the show’s host, Meredith Medland, interviews champions of green living and sustainability using techniques she learned as a yoga instructor to reveal “the psychology behind their ecology.” Plenty talked with Medland and Personal Life Media founder Susan Bratton about talk show techniques and the importance of vision (in life and environmentalism).
What keeps listeners hooked on “Living Green”?
I think it’s the personal conversation that hooks people. It’s understanding the larger issues and the intimacy and connection of people and bringing out what’s inside them, what motivates them. That’s what people will find fascinating. That’s why people like soap operas and that’s why people like love stories.
The honesty and depth of the questions that I ask are analogous to the questions a therapist would ask in a one-on-one meeting with someone. They allow people to tap into their own memories and remember what it was that drove them to action [concerning the environment]. During the last portion of the interview I ask my guests how they could dream even bigger. I ask them to create three outcomes for themselves, things that in three months they could actually do that would create a measurable difference in their own lives.
Some of what you’re doing sounds more like therapy than journalism. What would you actually call yourselves, therapists or journalists?
[laughing] How about a thera-journalist? I think that would be most accurate.
Who do you think your listeners are? Are they already environmentally conscious?
It’s wider than just the eco crowd. We’re targeting people that have a house and are either working on having kids or already have them and want to know what else life can offer.
Who are some of “Living Green’s” featured guests?
In one show, Richard Louv, who wrote the book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, talks about how nature impacted Ansel Adams and Teddy Roosevelt and how their experiences with nature as children affected them. Richard was talking about how much he has been traveling since writing the book. He said that he hasn’t had enough time to get out in nature himself. During the show we talk about how he could change this and actually come up with a plan for him to spend more time with his wife “bishing,” which he describes as birding and fishing at the same time.
Last year’s election results were encouraging for many people in the green movement, and there is a lot of hope that green issues will get big play in next year’s elections. Where do you see the country heading, and how do you think Personal Life Media and “Living Green” can help us get there?
My fantasy is that the more mainstream media adopt the style of interviewing that Meredith is pioneering because I think it will change the world faster. We should be talking about motivation and not stuff. We should be helping consumers make better sustainable lifestyle decisions and help them to be more active. Activism is a big, big word around here.
“Living Green” episodes can be found on the show's website and are also available as podcasts on iTunes.
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