The Environment Meets the Blogosphere

How well does the blogosphere cover environmental issues? Right now there’s a bit of debate about that. Personally I think it’s off to a good start – you just need to know where to look. And I have a great new resource to recommend for environmental weblogs…

On May 20, Jeff McIntire-Strasburg wrote in Sustainablog about how he thinks the most popular political weblogs should be covering environmental issues more.

To be honest, I don’t read political blogs very often, so I don’t have an opinion on whether they could or should be doing more on the environmental front. However, on May 30, Dave Roberts wrote in Gristmill that he agrees that ” in general, the bigtime political blogosphere neglects environmental issues. This is a lamentable state of affairs.” Roberts outlines several possible reasons for this – definitely worth a read.

Now, I’ve been covering environmental and energy issues for well over a decade. During that time I’ve also worked extensively with the Society of Environmental Journalists – an excellent group which offers its members and the public a broad array of resources on environmental journalism and issues.

Very recently SEJ debuted its list of recommended environmental weblogs. This list was created through suggestions from SEJ members and others, and selections were made by board members Tim Wheeler and Christy George. There are dozens of first-rate resources on this list. If your interested in environmental issues and want to be exposed to a broad range of issues and perspectives, check out this list.

Most of the blogs and other items on this list offer webfeeds which allow you to receive instant updates of new items.

If you want a big daily dose of environmental news and views from the blogosphere, check out the Enviroblogs Blogdigger Group I set up to accompany the SEJ blogs list. This provides one-stop-shopping for all the blogs and sites on that SEJ list which offer feeds. From there, you can also download all of those feed subscriptions in the form of an OPML file – which you can then import into your feed reader if you prefer to read them that way.

I’d be interested to hear your comments on how the blogosphere is covering the environment. What are its strengths, weaknesses, obsessions, and blind spots in this regard?

7 thoughts on The Environment Meets the Blogosphere

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  1. I’ve gotta say, this list seems a little… arbitrary.

    We’ve been blogging at Oceana for a year and a half now (and were among the first environmental organizations to jump in). We’re not on the list.

    NRDC has a blog. It’s not there either.

    Sierra Club’s blog? Nope.

    Excellent “bright green” journal WorldChanging? Uh uh.

    Shifting Baselines’ blog? No soup for you.

    Wherefore art thou, Green Media Toolshed?

    And I guess Greenpeace’s blog isn’t green enough to make the cut either…

    But Daily Kos is. Huh?

    I’ve been working for two years now to help bootstrap an environmental blogosphere. It’s still in the formative stages, and people are still feeling their way around. But we’ve come a lot farther than the SEJ’s list would indicate to the reader.

  2. Jason (and everyone): SEJ has only just launched this list. It’s a work in progress. They are considering all suggestions for additions to their list of recommended blogs. See the bottom of the list page for info on submitting suggestions.

    Remember, the goal of the list is not to be a comprehensive list, but a selective list of recommendations.

    – Amy Gahran
    Editor, CONTENTIOUS

  3. Amy,

    thanks for the response. I’ll send my links along to SEJ as well.

    Here’s my thing — it’s exactly the fact that they indicate that their list is a “selective list of recommendations” that originally puzzled me.

    Is there something about our blog that SEJ feels makes it unworthy of recommending? What about the other ones I mentioned? I couldn’t tell if SEJ had just missed all this activity in surveying the blogosphere, or if hadn’t and instead were trying to tell us that we were doing something “wrong”.

    If that’s it, I get the message but not the point… which is why I responded. If we’re all unworthy of recommendation in SEJ’s eyes, I’d be curious as to why, so that we can get better.

  4. Well, since this project is new, I would assume that if a blog doesn’t appear on this list it’s because the SEJ team that considers blogs for inclusion on this list didn’t know about it. I don’t think they did a comprehensive search of the blogosphere, they first relied on suggestions from SEJ members.

    In other words, don’t assume any blog has been “rejected.” Try suggesting it first. If it doesn’t make the list, then ask why.

    Bear in mind also that this is a volunteer project managed by very busy people.

    – Amy Gahran
    Editor, CONTENTIOUS

  5. Amy is exactly right. The list is arbitrary because we MSM folks are just learning about blogging. No offense or exclusion intended.

    Our goal is to tip journalists to the most useful blogs for story ideas and background. We don’t want to overwhelm people, so we may exercise some selectivity.

    Please feel free to point out environment-themed blogs we’ve missed. This is a work-in-progress.

  6. Thanks for the nod, Amy, and thanks for the links. My original point wasn’t than environmental news isn’t out there — it certainly is. Rather, I was taking note of how little news on the environment, or specifically environmental politics, makes it to the well-know political blogs like Kos and TPM. Eschaton and TAPPED will have something every now and then, but largely its a big void in the political blogosphere. I brought this up mainly because I was frustrated — there are some really important issues of environmental policy and politics being debated currently, but you wouldn’t know it if you strictly followed the big blogs…