I’ve been invited to be one of the judges on the Green Web Awards, alongside Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP, Adam Vaughan of The Guardian, Ed Gillespie of Futerra. Bonnie Alter of Treehugger and others. The Green Web awards were launched last year by Nigel Berman of nigelsecostore.com, so it’s a chance to figure out how much has changed in those 12 months.
Please get nominating.
Last year the standout winner for me was Freecycle, which won the Favourite Online Community award. It’s easy to forget what a quiet revolution that has been working on so many levels – building community, recycling tonnes of goods and saving landfill.
By adding a Best Greenwash category the Awards also ensure that they get great national publicity. Last year Mattel’s range of Eco-Friendly Barbies sashayed straight into the top spot.
But 2008 seems a long way away. Blogs themselves have lost some of their shininess in the intervening months. This is partly because the ADD-style attention span of the web has already moved on to social media, but I’m not sure if blogs themselves have grown as successfully as they should. While independent sites like DeSmogBlog are still lynchpins, and sites like Treehugger remain central, those of the major campaigning NGOs like Greenpeaceand WWF are looking sadly corporate and staid, as if their copy is part of a greater PR machine, rather than exuding the passionate intelligence that so many people who work for them have.
To acknowledge the shifting emphasis there’s a new category Social Media Hero. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. I do follow people like @revkin, @sustainblog and@adamvaughan_uk, but I’m not sure the environment movement yet has its own Stephen Fry. Take a look at Mashable’s list of 75 green tweets and see how many you would really want in your Twitter window every day.
On the plus side, sites like Naresh Ramchandani and Andy Hobsbawm’s Do The Green Thinghave a real elegant simplicity to them and have proved continued to prove that the web is a brilliant tool for behaviour change.
But as these projects integrate with the social web, I suspect we’re on the verge of harnessing something quite spectacular. RSA Projects like Design Behaviour and The Social Brain tell us again and again we behave better when we act together.
We perceive it’s hard for us to lower our energy use on our own, but when we start comparing our use with our friends and neighbour’s, we suddenly start finding new ways forward.PriceWaterhouseCooper’s Carbon Bigfoot app on Facebook is one great new tool which does exactly that. Pachube is another fantastic mash up of technologies to create a live online community energy use comparison site.
I’m sure you have your own favourites.
I’d be particularly interested in seeing nominations for sites that aim at reaching the “other half” who are the least engaged in environmental issues.
And of course should anybody want to nominate and vote for us…
Go to RSA Arts & Ecology