“Hey guys, welcome to my vlog!” Most likely than not, you’ve heard this line before. It’s the most overused intro of vloggers or content creators. It is a straightforward opening to a video so I suppose, there’s nothing really wrong about it except that its overabundance has become more annoying than welcoming.
I never thought of doing it myself. Having a vlog, I mean. But I have to admit online visual stories are effective in getting the message across especially so that about 11 hours are spent online at an average by most Filipinos. And so, I did this travel vlog x climate justice story for Greenpeace and I have to say, I enjoyed it (the series is featured by EngageMedia, check it out here). It was fun but it was also a lot of work. One might assume that it only takes a camera or a phone, plus good lighting, maybe, then you’re good to go. But it takes so much more than that. A ton of courage to put one’s self out there is required. I remember taking a video of myself in a public place with people staring and I couldn’t help but cringe. I’m not cut out for this. It is a good thing this is not my full-time job but it is impressive how being a content creator can be a career path these days.
I’ll stick to writing, thank you very much. I don’t do it professionally but I write mostly for myself. But having some kind of impact to someone who reads my piece is a bonus. I also hope to be a better writer and the best way to achieve that is to write, and then write some more, and write again. It can be a challenge especially if you’re feeling uninspired or there’s nothing to write about but the key is to keep at it.
I’ve been writing mostly about climate and environment stuff. It has become my sort of brand. Today is Earth Day – Ryan’s Day, as someone fondly dubbed it as tribute to my advocacy and passion towards environmentalism. It is an opportunity to put a spotlight on a subject matter which frankly is rather not taken seriously. Despite warnings from science. Not even first-hand experience can seem to convince us to do something about it. And what I’m referring to here is the climate crisis and environmental decay. It’s not because we don’t care – well there are some who are frustratingly indifferent about all these things, perhaps cushioned by their sheltered and privileged life, to be honest, but there’s no easy way to solve a wicked problem.
Incidentally, while writing this, I was listening to a podcast where Stanford guys, Matt Abrahams and BJ Fogg were discussing about behavior change. BJ mentions information-action fallacy stressing that providing facts or information to change attitudes and behavior could just not work. So being aware about Earth Day and learning about all the information one needs to save the planet (when will we realize this is for us to save ourselves), a more environment-friendly attitude and behavior would not be expected. He proposes that motivation, ability (simplicity factor), and prompts are elements that could actually change behavior. To illustrate this in the context of reducing the use of plastic bags when shopping – an extra cost for plastic bags would be a motivation to bring a reusable bag, a simple thing to do; prompted by a poster saying, “Bring your reusable bags.” This makes sense and also relates to value-action gap. Those trying to embrace a sustainable lifestyle may not be able to translate that into action because the sustainable path can be difficult, costly, and sometimes the path may not be even there.
So this Ryan’s Day, I hope we could appreciate nature more and realize its value so we become motivated to protect it. May the systems in place make it easy for us to choose the sustainable option. And may adaptive designs nudge us towards a better choice, something that is kinder for the planet.
P.S. Here’s a random photo with an Earth Day feels to catch your attention. 🙂