Chapter 2

How social media made sustainability mainstream

Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel, The Jungle, is often credited as the first landmark media exposure of corporate malfeasance. It told the story of a young Lithuanian couple, Jurgis Rudkus and Ona Lukoszaite, who move to Chicago at the turn of the 20th century where Jurgis goes to work in Packingtown, the heart of the city’s meatpacking industry.1 Sinclair, a journalist, spent weeks researching and reporting the story that he would ultimately turn into prose. What he discovered was shocking both in terms of the conditions that immigrants were forced to work under and the food safety standards (or lack of) that the industry adhered to.

“This is no fairy story and no joke,” Sinclair wrote. “The ...

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