Weblog von Geoff Livingston
In a sign that the sustainability movement is gathering more steam, WiserEarth celebrated its third anniversary yesterday, with some stunning growth statistics. The alternative to Facebook and Orkut, Wiser Earth now boasts 37,000+ people from 231 countries, regions and territories.
I'm in Oahu to speak at the NextLevel conference, my second Hawai'ian island trip in all (I visited the Big Island in 2001). When one lands in Honolulu, the first place you go to is your hotel, usually in Waikiki. While it's certainly beautiful with scenic island decor, you feel enveloped by tourism and civilization... The high rises remind you that this is Hawaii's most populated island, and the 11th largest metro area in the United States.
Tomorrow is Earth Day. Ironically, not much fanfare has been made of the 40th Earth Day anniversary. Still the usual flood of events are being created to invoke environmental awareness by many organizations around the world. Disney even released a movie this year called Oceans. Given the incredible amount of environmental activism that occurs now throughout the year I wondered if Earth Day has achieved its mission.
As soon as we finish the Run/Walk for Water on Sunday (have you registered yet?), it will be the week leading up to Earth Day. Many environmental organizations use Earth Day as a centerpoint to start or end initiatives for environmental awareness. We wanted to take a look at one that our DC-based friend Lynn Miller has taken on: GreenMyParents.
I attended a green social media marketing panel last night in Washington, DC that included Sacha Cohen, Jennifer Kaplan, Diane MacEachern, Lynn Miller, Adam Shake and moderator Kate Sheppard. The panelists got bogged down in tools, but eventually transitioned to how to positively create more movement on green behavioral change and technology adoption. At the heart of the matter is the many greenwashing issues, as well as distrust of bloggers who blindly recommend initiatives.
Triple Pundit reviewed a study that shows altruism amongst green product purchasers declines rapidly. In the write up, author BC Upham says, "The study suggests people who have spent money on things they perceive to benefit society as a whole may feel they have “done their good deed for the day” and thus are more likely to choose less altruistically when presented with other ethical quandaries."
The University of Toronto study goes on to say in the new global ethic that the larger world seems to be espousing, people reactively give out of guilt. "This implies that virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviors." Then the study says, "Because purchasing green products affirms individuals’ values of social responsibility and ethical consciousness, we predict that purchasing green products will establish moral credentials, ironically licensing selfish and morally questionable behavior."
As many of your know, I am participating in the Dow Live Earth Run for Water on April 18. It's when I see things like the battle over the Chesapeake Clean Water Act that I feel compelled to participate. Dubbed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as the Biggest Fight for Clean Water the United States has seen, this Act seeks to turnaround decades of neglect.
I was recently joined RarePlanet's advisory board after hearing about their cool vision. The concept puts environmental campaign managers into a social network where they share and learn best practices in online community management. It's a two year program, and if successful, community managers earn a communications masters degree from the University of Texas - El Paso.
The range of topics is pretty diverse, from more sustainable agriculture and better management of a protected areas to water conservation and even a 350 group. Though it's early in the life of RarePlanet, the effort already has 1000 community members.
TrashTalk is a new initiative from the SENSEable City Lab and inspired by the NYC Green Initiative that's studying waste management. Specifically, the effort seeks to use technology to understand our removal chain as well our supply chain.
The effort uses hundreds of small, smart, location aware tags to examine how we get rid of waste. In the end, the minute details could provide great amounts of data that could yield a more sustainable future.
I work out a lot and 6k or 3.73 miles doesn't seem like a long distance, but running is a completely different kind of exercise. So I decided to train in advance of Washington, DC's Dow Live Earth Run for Water on April 18.
Why 6K? It's symbolic of the distance Africans traverse every day for fresh water, a major daily task. The Dow/Live Earth effort will benefit a ton of charities working on water issues.