Green Scene Needs Digital Convergence for REAL “Power Shift!”

ease-logo.jpgThis month, green globetrotters trying to “do good things for the planet” have been leaving ‘carbon footprints’ all over the flippin’ country flying to conferences hither and yon…

Suggestion? Go virtual, folks.

5000 green teens descended on Washington D.C. for the national youth summit on climate change called Power Shift. (a project of Energy Action Coalition)

The week after? Greenfestival in S.F. and GreenBuild 2007 in Chicago, where EASE presenter Gil Friend mentioned the absurdity of 23,000 eco-concerned environmentalists descending on the city in a cloud of jet fumes.

I attended EASE to hear the youth forum presented by Envirolution (NYC), support fellow Earthseeds advisory council ‘crewmembers’ in promoting a ‘2020 vision’ of a planet in every classroom, (Colorado) and to find out more about a new EASE eco-community in development called GaiaSpace.

But you can begin to see the problem of nationwide convergence…ESPECIALLY when Opportunity Green was simultaneously going full tilt at UCLA with speakers like Kevin Wall of LiveEarth, Jamais Cascio of Worldchanging, and Tom Feegel of Brand Neutral

I wished I could’ve cloned myself to be everywhere at once. (I’m wishing that a lot lately) If we’re going to harness “new energy for a new era,” we need to unite the various factions, initiatives, and mindshare to mobilize impactfully and turn a RED HOT topic, GREEN.

Literally green…Ditch the conferences, erase the carbon footprint and go virtual…Step it up, so to speak…


Facebook advocacy groups like the Energy Bill 2007 have made massive waves in the blogosphere to engage supporters and mobilize without leaving a smidge of a trail, attesting to the power of social media to get things done. (btw, you can take action HERE)

And 1Sky Solutions pays the Power Shift forward in a 3 step plan to take climate action NOW.

These various green niche organizations could use the power of media for positive change by combining forces to share leads, information and open source ideas rather than striations and fiefdoms of green teams talking to themselves.

From a conference focus and topicality perspective, we have so much to learn from one another even at opposite ends of the spectrum…

ypulsetweens.jpgThat’s why I love the YPulse Mashup concept of bringing together aligned (but not mirrored) entities that have the opportunity to complement each other’s skillsets.

I attended the Ypulse national summer fest, (report here, from ‘Next Great Thing’) but missed the tweens in N.Y. sigh. (Still need to get to the video and report back w/a capsulized edit, I realize…)

And yes, I realize conference social intimacy builds with flesh-pressing/handshake time, and it’s ‘not the same’ if you’re not ‘face to face’…

But why not at least regionalize it into local pods with multiple arms and long-reaching tentacles that suck in outlying areas via public transport and then beam everyone else in on wide screen webcasting or live-streamed from inside virtual worlds?

Could be fun!

Using the S.F. Bay area, for example, you’d draw in green teens converging from multiple population hubs, (e.g. the bridge and tunnel crowd arriving via BART, CalTrans, ferry, etc.) meet and greet via the fun, festive edutainment event merging multiple schools and eco-enthusiasts exchanging “best practices” and ideas…

And? Learn from leaders in the field at scheduled times on a life-sized screen, all without the mess or carbon waste.

earth2tech-logo.jpgSeems we’d ALL serve the planet much better using communication networks and technology that already exist, repurposed into forums that exemplify the ‘think global, act local’ mindset…in an ‘Earth2Tech’ approach for sustainability.

Obviously there’s a plethora of media options for interactivity to make conferences 3-D not 2-D, and still save the planet by staying put.

You could group the subjects by green relevance so people could cherry-pick their passion projects and actively engage, rather than have that ‘peak and lull’ format of ‘perpetual partial attention’ when people disengage into a neutral zone if the speaker doesn’t directly pertain. (the human equivalent of a commercial break during TV)

We clearly have the media and marketing tools, from webcasting, webinars, e-chat and Skypecasting to elaborate global time zone shifting akin to a LiveEarth slate.

At our ‘women leaders for the world’ event this past summer, we used Cisco’s technology to unite via ‘audiopod’ with delegates from prior years patched in from multiple countries as all of us circled around to share our visions and gain insights.

I could even hear a baby crying from the cellphone feed of a remote African village where connectivity is often troublesome. Soon we’ll be using Pulsewire to remain connected with our global updates and info sharing on our progress.

My point? Media doesn’t have to be fancy…Simple mobile texting can turn a ‘beamed in’ guest speaker from afar into a two-way experiential conversation.

At the YPulse mashup discussing new mobile technology last summer, my favorite part was the time-saved from microphone toting into the audience and rambling chatter hogs when they asked us all to TEXT message our questions to the stage. Brilliant use of the anonymity of media, with the added bonus of ‘anything goes’ in play using mobile as a conduit for authenticity.

earthseeds-project.jpgFinally, the notion of a larger ‘green’ social media conference umbrella raining droplets of local vision and implementation really appeals to me. Why? Communities can mobilize as fast as a flash mob, and cut through the ‘weasels with a clipboard’ bureaucracy of large scale events.

Earthseeds is trying this by putting forth a ‘sustainable bus’ concept, hubbed as a mobile display packed with fun-on-the-run eco-education customized to the local community.

Local sponsors and firms would be able to support green outreach at a granular level so they can ‘give back’ to the community rather than focus on corporate biggies who ‘pay to play’ at mega-events, and snatch the speaker platform to boot.

This is particularly important when it comes to actually MAKING change rather than just talking about it.

sprouts_logo.jpgFrom organic school gardens, recycling and composting projects, redistributing discarded fruit and veggies from the lunch tray back into the mouths of hungry classmates, or adopting a local animal shelter to receive the leftovers thereafter…Kids are able to make change fast dealing with cities and towns rather than states and regions, because the adults become enrolled in the community process.

It’s all about community building and collaboration instead of guarding turf and jurisdictions…

The people who are SERIOUS about being green and interconnected will look beyond the green of their wallets enough to collaborate as a whole. That might even serve as a filter factor in itself.

Hey, I kinda like that! Might help sift out the greenwashing spin cycle from the genuine green ‘world changers.’

How can we best collaborate to reach beyond status quo and actually reverse the tide?

As Gil Friend said at EASE, “How good is good enough? When someone asks how your marriage is, you don’t want to say, “sustainable.” You’d prefer it be thriving…just like the planet itself.

What do YOU think? Which orgs could do better as one? How can we team-build to mashup causes into something that works for the greater good?

nbc-film-logo-ecorazzi.jpgWould you attend a hybrid virtual conference of part-local/part-global to erase the trace and turn your footprint into a digital green? How can we get all the “Treehuggers” onto the same page?

With EcoSolutions coming every which way, including CNN’s weekly show and news round-up, now followed by NBC’s “Green is Universal” theme fresh out of the box, it was only a matter of time until media gave it the celeb schtick and ecorazzi appeal to tout “the latest in green gossip.” sigh.

Seems high time to merge media into a digital convergence to leverage the momentum rather than exploit the cause…As it all shakes out, we’ll find out who’s in it for ‘the green’ and what kind of green that might be.

Related Stories

TechCrunch: Google v. Yahoo, Who Cares the Most About the Environment?

TechCrunch: To Invest $10 Million in Green Start Ups

From’s Green Guy, Larry West:

The Energy Bill 2007
Facebook Group posts numerous blogger links of Energy Bill 2007 supporters re: higher mileage standards and the use of renewable energy sources to convey the power of social media. See Chris Abraham’s group.



  1. Just found this site for a ‘gift giving’ idea…Give the gift of energy efficiency with ‘Sustainable Spaces’ consultants who come into your home and evaluate where you could save big bucks and save the planet at the same time.

    Not cheap, that’s for sure, averaging $700/home with half of that going toward any construction you might do, but hunting through the details, it looks like they know what they’re doing and it could save you much BIGGER bucks in the long run. Hopefully it’s not just an innovative marketing ploy to get contract work, but looking at the press on it, including the Sunset Magazine Design House 2007, I’d say they have to walk the walk.

    Check it out…(yeah, I know, it’s not ‘kids media/mktg.’ but they live in the environs, too, healthy & green makes even more sense for air quality and such!)

  2. This site exemplifies what I’m speaking of in terms of ‘not reinventing the wheel’…it’s a network of ‘best practices’ from AidWorkers by and for same…so they don’t keep churning the same ‘what ifs’…I LOVE this idea:

    They explain: “Aid Workers Network is a free service set up to enable aid workers to share practical advice and resources with each other. 15192 people like you are in the network!”

    “Find practical help in the Advice Pages, Check Blogs from aid workers, Read interesting articles and swap tips in Aid Workers Exchange, Learn about developing a career in aid and raising funds, And once you register you can ask questions in the Forum.”

    15,000+ people swapping best practices? Love that!!

    It’s run by a colleague from yesteryear in my Women in Communications Int’l days…funny how some of our core crew has ended up in the social media/communications realm! Makes sense! Anyway, check it out, could be a prototype for connecting causes using a ‘news from the trenches’ approach to uniting all in purpose.

  3. Chris Brogan wrote a great piece on his Facebook blog about meaningful media, including eco/green pursuits and such…

    Here’s a fabulous link from the BBC Worldservice site of relevant climate change/eco events and programs…

    Here’s a blip of some of his plans kind of like a ‘note to self’ on going green. Check it out:

    My Plans/Chris Brogan:

    My knowledge is in technology, community, and people. So with what I know, I’m going to find some ways to be helpful over the next year that I hope align with some bigger things. Here are some thoughts for what I’m going to do:

    * Teach companies how to virtualize their data centers, cutting heat costs, materials costs, and space needs.
    * Conduct and promote virtual conferences and webinars, to cut down some carbon from travel.
    * Promote and support more small giving projects like Beth Kanter’s college project, OLPC, and more.
    * Do at least one offline, non-internet project a month.
    * MAKE something NEW, either online or off over the next year.
    * Support shows like Real World Green, which show easy ways to live greener.

  4. Another one…this time Nokia, greenwashing or green smarts? Weigh in re: short term green charity projects vs. long term sustainability:

    Here’s the take on the PSFK blog:

  5. Events like Powershift and Step It Up really give individuals a chance to voice their opinions about the environment and should be recognized for the original message it what trying to convey. Conferences are necessary for the geographically community and more leaders need to become more eco-aware so that they will attract people to these events. Virtual footprinting is a great suggestion for grassroot environmentalism but it is just one step. Please take Amy’s suggestions and start speaking out more online and going to informative websites like while also organizing eco-events in your area, so you don’t have to travel so far away by plane.

  6. Yep, heartily agree…And I’ve linked a couple of times here to the Energy Bill 2007 campaign, but it can’t hurt to do it again!

    In fact, the ‘virtual footprint’ mentioned is interesting because, on Facebook, it’s quite clear that advocacy and action go hand in hand…Here are links from Diane/Chris’ group on the Energy Bill 2007 that were recently posted: wow. Lotsa chatter in the blogosphere…so yes, ‘grassroots’ but more like a wildfire of weeds sprouting up like crazy!!! 😉 Check these out:\

    Diane Wright adds:

    “AND, don’t forget the sign the petition yourself, saying that you support higher mileage standards and the use of renewable energy sources…

  7. Be a Good Daughter says

    Great message.
    I am sure you will check out my diary..

  8. It’s a troubling irony, isn’t it? You’re nudging me toward a need for Second Life. (And yes, I’ve read that it has its own troublesome carbon footprint – more than a real person in Brazil, I think? – but still, it’s a much dimmer candle than air travel. Isn’t it?)

  9. It’s absolutely important to be shifting to virtual seminars and so forth, but it’s also critical to get some face time with those who play important roles in future collaborations. Once those bonds and alliances are established, then it will be much easier to email & phone conference with folks you have met and shared time and food, etc. We’re still ‘mammals in clothes’ and given that studies indicate 70-90% of all communication is non-verbal ( body postures, facials, tone of voice, etc )and of course the money-making aspect$ of any seminar – we have a ways to go yet – but we are making inroads & pathways. Having attended EASE 2007, I found it was great to make some good contacts that are already panning out as we blend Earthseeds with Envirolution Energy and SUS-BUS ideas were very well accepted by all. I think it would not be quite the same had we sent materials only instead of being there. So until “Scotty can beam us up, out & over” I’m afraid we’re going to be charged with choices of when & how to choose what shade of green we are able to handle in any given circumstances.

  10. You and Clay are both absolutely right…there’s a place for SL, virtual webinars, and hybrid unconferences…all with the objective of consolidation for a more sustainable planet. So yes, it is indeed an irony that the messaging/mobilization is all over the board.

    That’s why I’m not saying replace face time, but simply ‘think global act local’ and use the face to face for local contacts more cohesively…beaming in the biggies instead of jetting them around. That said, you’re right, Envirolution and some of the new orgs that we met up with are on opposite coasts and we never would’ve had the opp to ‘connect’ one on one in the same ‘chemistry check’ kind of way…so as Clay says, it’s an irony.

    Guess I just feel we need to unite more than splinter into various factions, regardless of the issues at hand…this goes for the youth media literacy movement too…Lots of orgs with different temperaments could still unite under one umbrella for an ‘annual’ conference so to speak…A social media hub that could then direct by topicality/choice/POV/ specialization.

    Your point is very well taken though…and speaks to the ‘so close but yet so far’ portion of building digital intimacy…Thank goodness it’s no substitute for REAL life connection, n’est ce pas? 😉

  11. Thanks again Amy for putting up all those links. You are great!

  12. This just in from the Alliance for Climate Protection, too:

    “Last week you may have seen that the world’s leading scientists published their most authoritative warning on the climate crisis to date. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon responded immediately saying the effects are “so severe and so sweeping that only urgent global action will do. We are all in this together. We must work together.”

    A few weeks from now in Bali, Indonesia is our chance. Government leaders from around the globe will gather to take heed of the scientists’ findings and to craft an international treaty that will halt global warming. A treaty that will be a platform for dozens of clean energy solutions that can provide essential services to developed and developing countries alike. The time is now.

    Please click here to send a message to a leading member of the US government delegation to the Bali Climate Change Conference urging him to agree to a treaty that addresses the scientists’ recommendations — a treaty that will cut global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth.

    This is not a partisan issue; it is a moral issue. Together we can chart a course that will make our children proud and provide a healthier future for them and for their own children. Left unchecked, however, we will have so violated our responsibility to future generations that no court of law or place of worship could look at humankind without making a harsh judgment.

    UN Secretary-General Ban said about Saturday’s IPCC report, “These scenes are as frightening as a science fiction movie. But they are even more terrifying because they are real…” With an eye toward the upcoming government meeting in Bali, Ban said, “The world’s scientists have spoken clearly and with one voice. I expect the world’s policy makers to do the same.”

    “Slowing and reversing these threats is the defining challenge of our age…It contains one overarching message for all of us: that there are real and affordable ways to deal with climate change.”

    Please click here to send a message to the US government delegation to the Bali Conference urging adoption of a treaty that addresses the scientists’ recommendations:

    Cathy Zoi
    Alliance for Climate Protection

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