The Huffington Post is currently ranked as Technorati's number one authority blog. This means that it has more blogs that link to it than any others according to Technorati's links count. This distinction makes the recent addition of a separate page on Green News and Opinions within The Huffington Post particularly noteworthy to the environmental research community.
Huffpo readers are familiar with the format of the blog. RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds are collected under theme pages related to Breaking News (Home), Politics, Media, Business, Entertainment, Living and now Green. Each page also lists news sources and featured commentators and their blogs in a thematically organized Links box at the bottom of each page. The blog permits searches by topic/keyword and contributor. Also, there is a pull down menu that permits category searches.
The Green page is new and obviously will undergo enhancement and development over time. Our current observation is that the a Green lifestyles focus dominates the page, implying that improving environmental quality should be centered on the task of educating consumers about their ecological footprints and fostering their eco-friendly consumption. The inclusion of Ecofabulous as a news source and No Impact Man on the blogroll of the Green page reflects this approach.
Several highly visible nongovernmental organizations focused on wildlife, environmental, and ecological conservation are also featured as news sources. Among these are Conservation International, Greenpeace, The National Geographic, World Wildlife Federation, and the Environmental Defense Fund. It appears that among those missing from the news sources and blogrolls are environmental scientists, scientific organizations, experts on environmental problems and environmental advocates. We anticipate that this will change as the Green page evolves due to the large digital footprint of the environmental research community on the Internet.
No Impact Man lists Best Green Blogs on its blogroll. In keeping with our month-long focus on citizen cartography and GIS, we call attention to the Green Blog Map and what it represents to us as academics focused on how information technology shapes community empowerment with respect to environmental quality. The map shows the locations of green bloggers around the world. Bloggers request to have their blog locations entered on the map. (Our own request to be added to the map is pending!). The criteria for inclusion are that blogs: (a) post regularly on topics of interest to the environmental community, (b) have an RSS feed url, and (c) have content that is substantive in terms of the environmental issues and topics. Many of the bloggers focus on local environments. The project to map green bloggers does not have a direct connection with mapping environmental problems or with citizen environmental monitoring and mapping activities. Moreover, not many of the mapped bloggers represent the environmental research community.
Few researchers would dispute that grass roots activism and environmental reporting are important backbones of contemporary environmentalism. However, given the viral pathways that are emerging in a user defined content driven web 2.0 world, perhaps more researchers should consider such approaches for disseminating their work and perspectives about environmental problems and issues.
Michele Masucci and Caroline Guigar