Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why it's been hard for me to blog lately....or the 5 stories of green blogging.

As you can tell, my blogging has been light. If you read the usual suspects, techcrunch, wired, etc. blah blah blah. Blogging is so passé, no longer the thing to do. I'm suppose to be microblogging! Waxing poetic in 160 characters, tweeting away or writing poignant status messages. Whatever, it's the usual crapola of sloppy thinking. We should no longer be writing novels because short stories are better, the haiku is the future, etc. They are all different forms with validity in different contexts. The trouble with my blogging doesn't so much rely on the death of blogging (which is really just public journaling in its various forms), my new job which has sucked all my time (somewhat true, but on the flip side it's so engaging I don't leave exhausted unlike previous jobs -- see the soap opera of my former employer Yahoo! of which I hope survives) or illness.

No it's none of those. The reason I struggle with blogging about the environment is that it's become incredibly difficult to meaningfully contribute to the conversation. In looking about articles or ideas to blog about there really is a paucity of new things to contribute. There are only five types of green blog posts:

1. The world is coming to an end. - These stories focus on scientific studies that reveal that yes the climate is changing, that such and such is impacting global warming. At this point, any contention on this point is left for debating clubs. The question now isn't a matter of kind, but degree (no pun intended). Citing new reports doesn't add to the conversation. That leads me to the next story..

2. New technology saves all. - This type of story are the hopeful ones. Here in Silicon Valley these stories reek of navel gazing. If people just buy our new products everything will be awesome! These tend to be hype driven stories that provide glimmers of hope for the future, but almost all the solutions are far in the future. These however fight against the law of large numbers. The economics of new technology so meaningful to effective means it has to be licensed incredibly cheap. I am not sure we have the institutions to foster the transformational change we need. The two major technological changes that drove societal change on a mass scale were the transistor (which was given away by Bell Labs, part of the deal with which the then government regulated Bell System was received it's monopoly. It is not clear that without that grant of safety could the transistor have been successfully adopted. The other major technology giveaway that we call relate to was the internet. The technologies were all research projects given away for free. It's academic university roots. Any new technology must not only be good but it must have distribution support.

3. We are bad people. - This type of post relates to our wicked way or can also be called the guilt post. These relate to the choices we make. One of the premises of the market is that it is best when we have choices. However, the real world operates on available choices. We cannot buy things that are not available. The architecture of our lives dictates the shape of our actions. There is a really deep thread about choosing where to live to live with our values on the CarFree Yahoo group. We need to be careful not to be too shrill lest we turn off everyone.

4. The way others live - related to the previous post. This post tries to identify role models for better actions. I tend to be very positive for these type of posts because they provide a concrete model for others to use. This type of post tends to cite European models (not necessarily a bad thing). This is also called the support group post, we share our trials and tribulations so we don't feel so much like freaks. The strength of the effort, like training for a marathon is a tough one and the support of others is key.

5. The laws we live by - This last type of post focuses on laws that are either good or bad. This perhaps is the most important because it determines the available choices. This one has great impact and I recommend fellow bloggers to rally their readers to legislation and organizations that will focus our leaders to better decisions.

I know that most of my posts fall into those five categories. As bloggers we can be news services but we need to contribute new ideas or mechanisms to not echo the world as we live in, but facilitate the world we want to live in. I think the shared stories of people trying to live more green are inspirational. My challenge to myself and others is how do we come up with a higher level of conversation that drive meaningful action.

Many of the conclusions are known, how do we move to action?


At 7:48 PM , Blogger Tilden said...

have you seen the zeitgeist films? I think you'd like them and it applies to this post. I have them posted at my blog if you want to check them out.


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