A day in the life of an average American is filled with popular culture's representations of pollution and the environment. A person makes breakfast with cereal from a company that touts itself as environmentally conscious. Flipping channels while eating breakfast, an individual learns from CNN that an oil spill has occurred overnight near a sensitive coastline, while the Weather Channel reports that beach erosion caused by a hurricane off the coast of North Carolina is harming the natural resources of the sensitive Outer Banks. This average American drives to work in a sport utility vehicle (SUV), which was bought on its ability to drive up rugged mountain roads, but declined to buy a compact car that was advertised to help save the environment because of its fuel economy. This individual arrives in a crowded, concrete parking lot that surrounds a multiple-story office building, as do the other thousands of employees who also drive up singly and sometimes in pairs. The person stops by the grocery store on the way home from work in order to pick up prepared food that has been processed in a factory, but that is heralded as the right way to feed oneself in a wholesome and nutritious manner. And so it goes.
The American individual is exposed daily to images and ideas from popular culture (oftentimes unknowingly) in prepackaged advertisements on television, in newspapers and magazines, on the side of food products, on the Internet, and from hundreds of other sources. Certainly, most people's understanding of pollution issues and policies is formed from such brief tidbits—news reports, literature, and entertainment they encounter throughout their busy day.
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