When I first read about Blog Action Day a couple of months back, I thought, “what better way to start off the week than with a warm fuzzy feeling from a spell on my soapbox (conveniently located by my unsustainably produced desk by my energy sucking computer) to blog about changing the world?!” Blog Action Day tomorrow is when millions of voices all over the world will unite to talk about one thing, but within the usual style and theme of their blogs. This year, the theme is the environment. Noble but yes, you could say I was wary of the idea.
I mean, I’m all for printing on both sides of my paper and hey, I even use energy-saving light bulbs. But I felt a not-entirely-irrational stab of annoyance at the thought of millions of bloggers carbon-footprinting it around with a glow of self-righteous indignation at the state of the world today. This is not because I feel powerless or believe that one person can’t make a difference when it comes to important issues (Margaret Mead’s quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” is one of my favourites). I just wasn’t convinced that blogging was where we needed to be channelling our collective energy. Surely there’s not a person left in the blogosphere who isn’t aware of the environmental issues we face? Hasn’t the yet time come for ACTION?!
But yet [sigh], here I am, about to go green for Blog Action Day. So why the change of heart?
The main reason is lack of a better idea, if I’m honest 😉 Because whatever your view on virtual communications and online networking tools, there’s no denying the might of blogs. As of 7.23pm today, Technorati is tracking about 108.7 million blogs and with more than 175,000 added daily, that figure is only going up. More than 14,000 blogs have committed to posting on this year’s Blog Action Day. A small percentage, perhaps: but still a lot of words, no matter how you look at it.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about the impact of the virtual world on the “real” world lately. I like Tiffany Monhollon’s post about how the more wired we get, the more value we place on communication and action in more “traditional” forms. The impact of this year’s Blog Action Day is already evident in the political arena with Stavros Dimas, the European Union’s Environmental Commissioner, already lending strong support on his own blog and in traditional media too. Who’s to say that won’t translate into something even bigger and better?
But my cynicism really started to thaw when I realised how many bloggers were putting time and energy into thinking about how best to address this issue well in advance of tomorrow. I was impressed by their honesty in explaining their thoughts around the day. Best of all, not everyone was attempting to speak from an “expert” point of view.
So this is bigger than just me, yet without me, it wouldn’t be the same. That’s not being bigheaded, it’s true. Initiatives like that mean something to me. Finally, I figured that even if millions of posts on the environment had no effect whatsoever on blog readers, the time and energy put into crafting all these posts would have to prompt some bit of actionable change in the behaviour of us bloggers.
So why not?