Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change
The blogosphere is a complex organism which evolves rapidly in an ever-increasing motion. Discussions, philosophical insights, political commentaries, idiotic videos and lolcats cross each other in an apparently incoherent flow of information, unstoppable and uncontrollable. Then suddenly something extraordinary happens. On October 15 of each year the minds and hearts of the bloggers and internauts are captured by one word. Since its first edition in 2007 Blog Action Day has gathered the attention of thousands of bloggers, who were able to then reach millions of people. The idea is very simple as well as effective:
One issue, one day, thousands of voices
Global issues like poverty are extremely complex. There is no simple, clear answer. By asking thousands of different people to give their viewpoints and opinions, Blog Action Day creates an extraordinary lens through which to view these issues. Each blogger brings their own perspective and ideas. Each blogger posts relating to their own blog topic. And each blogger engages their audience differently.
I participated in both the events and gave my contribution. In the October 15 post "Blog Action Day - Zero Waste" with a post about the environment, I presented a series posters which encouraged people to recycle materials, which could then be used for future products, instead of considering them just waste. Recycling is of course just the last link of the chain, as people should first reduce and then reuse materials as much as possible. The cycle of production, consumption and disposal is a fairly complex issue, and it can't be explained in a few paragraphs, and many organisations have tied to find viable solutions to solve this problem. As far as I could tell, one organisation above all has its ideas and projects very clear and effective: the Zero Waste International Alliance. They have projects, publications, as well as real life case studies. So, what does the environment and the production of materials have to do with climate change? Quite a lot. What we decide to buy inevitably has an impact on the planet. Things are very much connected, soil degradation and the destruction of biodiversity do not allow plant to flourish, which cannot then absorb CO2, nor purify water, nor provide oxygen and nutrients for the organisms that need it.
The second year the topic was poverty.
I decided to take the discussion on a different level. I was in a Starbucks in Chicago, looking at the teacup. According to that paper-cup I was helping poor people in Africa by consuming at Starbucks. That seemed very much unlikely. Just before getting in the building I saw an homeless man, sitting in the sidewalk, begging for change, and it made me think of what poverty actually means. I wrote an article about the idea of poverty, and a critique of the GDP.
Finally, this year's edition. I received an email from the blogactionday staff, asking me to fill in a survey and give my take on what should the 2009 topic be.
Although they were different topics, it seems to me that in reality they are were much connected. I made my choice, and, not surprisingly, I received another email just a few days later:
We're thrilled to announce that after receiving more than 10,000 votes from past
Blog Action Day participants, the issue overwhelmingly voted as the topic for Blog
Action Day 2009 is... Climate Change!
Well, what-do-you-know? Climate change is the hot topic, and the bloggers' awareness is very high. I wasn't surprised at all, it makes sense after all, but I was kind of surprised that maybe for the first time the blogosphere's interest and the media's interest, as well as the politician's finally coincide. I was actually relieved: the time to speak up is now. Talk about it, think about it, spread the word and hopefully DO something about it.
p.s. This article was crossposted on the TH!NK ABOUT IT - Climate Change blogging competition