Those of you paying attention might have questioned why we didn’t have an ethical blogging post yesterday – being Wednesday and all. Well, the reason is that I wanted to save the post for Blog Action Day ’09, an annual event where bloggers unite to bring attention to an issue of global importance. This year, that issue is climate change; and I couldn’t think of anything better than to use this week’s ethical blogging post to talk about how blogging can be used for the common good.
In previous weeks I’ve discussed a few different approaches that can make your blogging more ethical. However, what I’ve intentionally not done is use the word ‘ethical’ to refer necessarily to the content of your blog. Just because a blog isn’t about making the world a better place doesn’t mean that it can’t be ethical. This is certainly true, and I don’t want to overlook this point, but that doesn’t mean that we should also ignore the fact that there are many blogging for one main reason: to make the world a more positive and wonderful place to be.
Nothing has brought together bloggers of all persuasions more than issues surrounding the environment. Climate change is quite likely going to be one of the greatest challenges that the world will face within the next century, and yet there are still many people at all levels of society who wish to live in denial.
Even above the level of those who choose to ignore all warnings, there is another incredibly large group of people who listen but do not act. Environmental awareness has been, until quite recently, the domain of grassroots campaigns and activism – and the blogosphere has been one of its most powerful weapons in the battle to inform.
There are thousands of very active, very passionate individuals who are educating the online community about not only the dangers surrounding climate change; but more importantly what we can do about it. In particular, there is a vast body of knowledge that focuses on action that can be taken at an individual level. Environmental bloggers are displaying one of the most powerful and important aspects of ethical blogging – they are blogging for the common good.
Although there are certainly many such people who make quite a good living from doing so, for the most part the motivation for climate change bloggers (and, indeed, grassroots and activist bloggers of all kinds) comes from a place that overlooks personal gain in order to improve the lives of the many. It is an honourable life indeed, when one chooses to use it for the benefit of those around them rather than just themselves.
So, the next time you decide to create a blog post – no matter what niche or topic your site covers – consider what you might be able to write about that engenders a sense of global community and compassion for all. To do this consciously, whether on a regular basis or less often, is what truly lies at the heart of ethical blogging.
To say it once more, it doesn’t matter what topic your blog covers because all topics (yes, even SEO, online marketing or even mixed martial arts) are able to be discussed in a manner that makes the world a better place. It doesn’t matter if the effect is small, or your readership is limited, because what matters is collective growth and collective understanding that we are all on this planet together. One for all and all for one!
So this is why I wanted to use my post for Blog Action Day ’09 to commend those resourceful and passionate souls who choose to use their new-found voice to promote greater understanding about our relationship to the planet and ecosystem that we call home. I tip my hat to all people who choose to use their time and energy to increase the lot of us all, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who forge headlong through past all hurdles that are put in their way – knowing that what they are fighting for is worth personal difficulty and possibly even a much lower income.
I just want to end now by highlighting a few popular (and some not so well known) climate change blogs that deserve your attention. When you read these, always remember the motivation that lies behind their creation and continued maintenance.
These people aren’t just blogging on the environment because it’s the best way to make money online. They’re not just doing it because it’s a great way to get an interview and a spot on television. They’re certainly not doing it because it is an easy option in any way, shape or form.
So, make sure that for at least the next day or two you turn your mind to issues surrounding the beautiful planet that we exist upon. Head on over to TreeHugger to see what is the most popular environmental blog. Check out Climate Feedback (of Nature magazine) so that you can stay on top of the latest scientific research surrounding the environment. Take a look at Inhabitat to see the latest on environmentally friendly design and architecture. Then make a final stop at Carbon Outreach and pay attention to just how much can be achieved by a single individual who is using their voice in order to pursue the common good.
All of these sites, and thousands more like them, have put the new media revolution towards a cause that will undoubtedly benefit every single living organism on this planet. Whether you agree with them or not, you can’t fault them for trying to help us all.
Remember them the next time you go to update your blog, and hopefully take some inspiration to think of ways that you can use your topic and niche to help those around you in whatever small way may be possible. Three cheers for environmental bloggers!