Green Communities and Social Networks

The Web provides opportunities for people who share common interests to find each other, and engage in conversations.

While I was in Washington on Friday, I got a kick out of watching a duck enjoying the cool mist rising up from the water flowing from the reflecting pool into the World War II Memorial, almost oblivious to the crowds of school kids and tourists running around the attractions.

A Washington Duck Watches Over the Memorials

Technology is allowing people to engage in conversations about our environment, and there are a number of social networking sites were these discussions are taking place.

Here are some of the green social networking sites that I found searching around the Web.

Care2.com — Covering a broader area than just sustainability and environmental issues, Care2 also has a good sized section focusing upon Green Living.

Change.org — aimed at social activism, one of the major topic areas involves addressing environmental issues.

Changing the Present — enables people and businesses to make “donation” gifts to “friends, colleagues and employees, as meaningful alternative to traditional presents.” You can create a profile page on the site, including information about your favorite non profits, and include a wish list and registry, as well as giving donation gifts through the site, and letting people know about the gift given on their behalf via a personalized (paper) greeting card. And yes, there is a social aspect to the site.

Dotherightthing — Social Watchdog site that allows people (consumers, investors, employees) to share information about how socially and enviromentally responsible businesses are.

Edenbee — Helps people to set goals to reduce their carbon footprints, and share their efforts and ideas on how to do so with others.

Fivelimes — Allows community members to post about green products and green news.

Gigoit — Many items that are resuable end up in trashbins and landfills. This site allows people to donate or receive reusable items. Great idea, but I’m not sure that it is as active as it could be. There’s also a “free” section at Craig’s list where you can offer or find items that people are giving away.

Green Options — A multiple user journal about environmental issues, education and resources.

Greenvoice — Their news section has a digg like interface.

Gaia Community — Formerly listed here as “Zaadz,” which was acquired by Gaiam Inc.

MindBodyGreen — A site dedicated to allow people to post and vote upon “news on better, healthier, greener living.”

The Nature Conservancy Groupspace — you can create your own Gather page, and become a member of the Nature Conservancy Group.

Playgreen — A wiki focusing upon sustainable development.

RiverWired — News, blogs, and videos all about green issues.

Treehugger — Possibly the best known green community site online right now. In addition to an active discussion forum, they also run Hugg, mentioned above.

Worldchanging – A group blog, where visitors can comment upon posts, and can submit suggestions for stories. A very informative site, filled with high quality articles.

Yahoo! Green — Think about the environmental elements found in Yahoo Answers, News, and add links to blogs posts on environmental issues, and you have a sense of what Yahoo’s Green is about. Would love to see images from Flickr and bookmarks from Delicious incorporated into this.

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49 thoughts on “Green Communities and Social Networks”

  1. Thanks a million for these links. And just FYI, I work with the people at Amphibian Ark who are looking for charitable giving to help them do emergency work to avert the mass extinction of amphibian species — unchecked it would rank second behind what happened to the dinosaurs. My blog tells more. So does Amphibian Ark’s Web site: http://www.amphibianark.org

  2. The Solar Decathalon looks like it would have been fun to see. It took place on the mall from October 12th – October 20th. It looked like tents were being set up on the National Mall for some kind of event.

    Washington National Mall

    It didn’t take up a lot of the Mall, like the Solar Houses did in the Decathalon.

    US Capitol and National Mall

    The different green networks are interesting in that some of them have very different focuses than others. For instance, the Worldchanging site (which I discovered through their excellent book), aims at a lot of things that you can do in your daily life to make a difference, but also has a nice coverage of international happenings and events.

    Treehugger, and it’s social networking site Hugg, are tremendous resources and looks at a lot of the science going on in the environmental field, too.

    Zaadz takes the approach of creating tools for people to undertake grass roots activism.

    All of them have their own specializations, and unique styles.

  3. Thank you for the mention about Gigoit. We are only about a year old so our membership is small at the moment. We are growing every day and soon will be adding many really cool features which I think will increase our membership. So far, we have saved literally over a ton of stuff from reaching the landfills.

    My long time friend and business partner and I write all the code and pay all expenses of the site right now so mentions and words of encouragement such as yours really keep us going.

    Thanks!

  4. Hi John,

    I love the idea behind your site, and it’s great to hear that you are growing. You’ve already got some smart tools, like the use of a Facebook application and Google Earth to show Gigoit information, and RSS feeds that show the last 10 items, and all available items. So the idea of even more features sounds great. I’ll be looking forward to them.

  5. Thanks for the list…it’s nice to see someone in the industry helping all of us to learn more about how we can use what we do for a living to effect positive change.

  6. Thank you, Julie.

    It’s been amazing watching the growth of social networks around different topics and activities.

    There have always been forums and discussion boards enabling people to be social and active, but it’s interesting watching the many different ways that people are experimenting with to make conversations easier, and communication between diverse groups more likely.

  7. Hi Bill,
    What a great post. This is a subject I really love!

    I spent some time looking through Care2 about a month ago. It looked like a site I’d like to participate in, but I ended up not signing up because I felt they were asking for way too much personal information in their registration form. They didn’t have an option that would let one give less information, so I ended up skipping it, and I wrote to the folks voicing my concerns about this. I was disappointed not to hear back from them.

    Cre8asite doesn’t force the new user to give date of birth, home address, etc. to take part in the conversation. I wish these guys at Care2 would take note of that (or at least write me back) :)

    Really nice post…and nice female mallard!
    Miriam

  8. Thanks, Miriam.

    I’ve been reading Care2 on and off for a good number of months, myself. They have an incredible number of pages over there, but I wonder if anyone from the organization recognizes that their registration process does keep people from signing up.

    There really is no need for Cre8asite to collect that much information, and I wonder why the folks at Care2 think they need to have the information.

    The mallard was really enjoying being perched above that waterfall. There was also a nearby couple about 20 feet away in the reflecting pool.

    Washington Ducks

  9. Hi Bill & Miriam,

    We are sorry to hear you opted not to create an account on Care2. We take seriously the issue of kids’ safety on the net and are in full compliance with the Children`s Online Privacy Protection Act, also known as COPPA. COPPA requires sites to get parents’ permission before collecting personal data from children under the age of 13. If you decide to create an account on Care2 your birthdate is confidential. If you opt to create a profile on Care2 you also have the option of keeping your birth year private and/or using a different date in this field.

    We hope this helps to explain our birthdate requirement. Our apologies that you did not receive a response to your inquiry, we pride ourselves in providing high quality customer support and are sorry to hear of the difficulty you experienced.

    If you have further questions about Care2 or our registration process please let us know through our help form.

    Sincerely,
    Kristen
    Care2 Support

  10. I followed a link at Kim’s blog to get here. :)

    I know what you mean, Bill. Many of us have Web skills of one kind or another, and it’s a pleasure to be able to use them to forward things we believe in.

    This month we’ve been fighting against the California politicos who have done an end run around the law and essentially barred raw milk from being sold in the state (starting 2008). Talking to farmers, and whoever, and putting ourselves out there. It’s amazing what one might do, say, support, pay, donate to, etc., when quality of life is on the line.

    And, then again, maybe not amazing. :)

    Loved your photos.

  11. Thanks, Diane.

    There do seem to be more opportunities for people to raise their voices, and to influence political decisions.

    For those of us who work on the Web everyday, and create and design, why can’t some of our efforts go towards attempting to shape and create something positive.

    Part of that effort is in sharing news and opinions, and in educating each other. That’s part of the reason why I’m so excited to see so many green social networks.

    Milk has an interesting place in US Constitutional Law. There are a series of legal cases involving the commerce clause and the sale of milk that get studied in many constitutional law classes. It would be nice to add a more modern one to that list.

    Something for you all to look at is the powerpoint presentation linked to on this page:

    Raw Milk and Raw Milk Products, Safety, Health, Economic and Legal Issues

    After reading it, I think I might start drinking raw milk. :)

    In addition to addressing health and nutritional issues, it also addresses economic and legal ones, including the mention of a Texas law prohibiting the sale of raw milk, which was struck down under the commerce clause, in 2002.

    Thanks, on the photos. :)

  12. Wow — who knew that we were visiting some of the same non-Web related sites.

    We’ve covered a lot of stuff about raw milk on our We Want Organic Food .com blog (including my letter to the Governator, who will likely never read it).

    I would love to hear how milk was covered in Constitutional law classes.

  13. This site lists (and includes) three commerce clause cases involving milk:

    Commerce Clause Limitations on State Regulation

    BALDWIN v. G. A. F. SEELIG, INC.
    H. P. HOOD & SONS V. DU MOND
    Dean Milk Co. v Madison (1951)

    The other cases provide some good insights into how the commerce clause might overcome state regulations that impact commerce between states. I recall reading most of those in law school.

    Here’s a California specific case that involved milk and the commerce clause:

    Hillside Dairy, et al. v. Lyons, Secy. of Food & Agriculture / Ponderosa Dairy, et al. v. Lyons

    I imagine that it would be possible to find a few more specifically based in California.

  14. Thanks, Bill. Those are most helpful.

    The owner of Organic Pastures Dairy Farm, one of the (if not *the*) largest organic dairy farms in California, is apparently mounting a lawsuit. The powers that be in a government agency(ies) forced a recall upon him, delayed for ages, and then after much testing it was found that his raw milk was fine — then they settled with him on the basis that he would not sue the agencies or the individuals involved(!). Pretty disgusting stuff.

    Anway, sorry to highjack your thread — and thanks for the help. :)

  15. You’ve missed one. SustainLane.

    SustainLane is a green media company, which encourages green living. SustainLane.com is one of its major products which provides an open Green Directory of eco-friendly businesses and products. People can register into the site and share their experiences about a green product/business, they can rate product, write reviews.

    If you are looking for some green product then its the best place to search for it. SustainLane’s green directory allows you to search for products/businesses which are well organized under different categories. Its very simple give you keyword select the catogory and search.

    Green community at SustainLane is the best. Green directory of SustainLane is the largest in US.

    Live green
    – Rakesh

  16. Hello Bill. I’ve met you at a few conferences and really respect your blog and everything you have to say about the world of online marketing in all of its wondrous facets.

    I am writing to request that you consider adding http://www.gaia.com” onto the list. Gaia is owned by Gaiam, Inc., which just acquired Zaadz not too long ago. I see that you have added Zaadz and thought the new Gaia.com would be a good addition.

    Also, we have Gaiam’s Community website, where there are forums and blogs, but it’s not quite as advanced in collaborative community technology as Zaadz and Gaia at this point.

    Thanks for considering!

    Everett

  17. Another interesting site is http://www.wiserearth.org that links over 100,000 non-profits on an open source social network. Non-governmental organizations can make connections, host events, post jobs, find partners and share information on wiserearth.

  18. Bill,

    I was very impressed by your research. I own a website pertaining to Green communities, and have realized there is so much out there on this topic. I am very interested in obtaining more information as to how to improve my rankings with this type of “Organic” site, and your resources are wonderful!

    Thanks so much,

  19. Hi Green Communities,

    It looks as though you are just starting out, but I like the ideas behind your pages. It would be nice if it were easier to find more environmentally friendly organizations by location.

    Best wishes for the success of your site.

    Bill

  20. Bill,

    Wow, thanks so much for the review of our site! Yes, it is very new, and your comments were very much appreciated. Do you mean placing environmentally friendly organizations on the respective states? or just populating the “resources” page? (Work in progress)
    I really value your feedback!

    Thanks so much Bill!

  21. Placing environmentally friendly organizations in the respective states, along with neighborhoods and housing developments would be tremendous. A couple of examples:

    The Piedmont Environmental Council of Virginia is a great regional resource that provides information about environmental issues in the Virginia Area. Someone wanting to learn more about what is happening in Virginia on an environmental front would probably be very happy to find their site.

    The Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation is a Bronx-based organization that focuses upon developing and greening existing buildings. It’s another region-based resource that including in your site would make your directory very interesting, if it were followed by similar listings.

    I don’t know exactly what you’ve envisioned, but I think that you have a lot of potential to do something good with your pages.

    Bill

  22. I like this site very much, it happens to be developed very much in the way that my own brain works. I began to look around about my big passion these days – other than gardening – and that is rain barrels. I have seven ! I understand, believe me, that you wish to cover many sectors. May I help you with one, though, which, perhaps, is not as deeply shared by you as by me? I hope you will consider this, too, and that is: rain water harvesting. You need a rain barrel, my friend ! I know, I know, we can not do it all, but of all the things you do, I encourage you to try a rain barrel. Remember, I have seven, I’m only asking you to try one ! If you decide, as i hope you will, the one place I can recommend – and I vounchsafe I have NO interest in them, no stock, nothing – the one place I can recommend because they treated me very, very well is a company called – like H2O – RAIN2O. It’s something like this http://www.rain2o.com. They have the things you need and also written materials and they will talk your ear off about rain and especially diverters, which is their specialty.

    All the best,

    Vern Johnson

  23. Thanks, Vern.

    There’s so much discussion in the media and on the web about global warming, but we don’t consider how much fresh and drinkable water is starting to become much more scarce in the world. Rainwater harvesting is something that more people should think about.

  24. Hello,

    I recently read a lot of the posts and visited a lot of the websites mentioned above–the sites are great and seem to be gaining popularity very quickly! I was wondering if anyone would be interested in posting an event hosted by Honeywell Laureate which will be focusing on Climate Change?

    On Oct. 27, 2008 at 10am CST, Professor Mario J. Molina, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, will conduct the next lecture in the Honeywell Nobel Minds Laureate Lecture series.

    The lecture will focus on climate change as one of the most serious environmental challenges facing society in the 21st century. Professor Molina will explore how global emissions of these gases can be significantly reduced through an international agreement at a cost that is smaller than that related to the damages resulting from climate change.

    If you would like to let your readers/members know, the live webcast will be on http://www.honeywellscience.com

    Please let me know your thoughts!
    Thanks,
    Hannah

  25. Yes, I agree with Radesh – Sustainlane.com is a great community with peer-reviews and comments on eco-friendly products, services, businesses, green living tips, also environmental news, DIY How Tos, healthy recipes, blogs, as well as being the creators of the US Sustainable Cities Ranking Guide. I’ve contributed hundreds of reviews, myself. Its a great place to share and to learn, to seek and find sustainable solutions! I hope you will share your passionate care about sustainability and the environment… and your expertise too! Cris

  26. Hi Cris,

    Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm about sustainlane.com.

    It looks like a great site. I’m going to have to spend some time there in the future. :)

  27. In Italy we have Zoes here’s a description:

    A virtual zone establishing networks among fair-sustainable lifestyles good practices
    Zoes – Fair sustainable Zone – means to be a landmark where producers, entrepreneurs,
    dealers, services suppliers, practitioners, administrators, consumers and citizens
    active in the liable economy in Italy meet on a framework serving all subjects of liable
    economy and sustainability active in the community, with the intent to build a large
    communication network based on the principles of environmental, economic and social
    sustainability.

    Setting fair and sustainable economy in a network

    Via Zoes it is possible to recreate on the web the reality of fair economy and sustainability:
    fair purchasing groups (GAS), fair economy districts (DES) and fair economy
    networks (RES), biological producers, farmers markets and critical consumers, responsible
    tourism agents, fair trade agents, energy saving agents and alternative energies
    producers, ecological mobility agents, biological feeding, and facilities and
    products of the ethical finance and economy. Moreover: ecological clothing and furnishing,
    bioarchitecture, open and free software, independent publishing and information,
    alternative medicine and health, international cooperation and cooperatives, time
    banks, development of cultural and multicultural skills.

    A different social network

    In the fair-sustainable zone every inhabitant has its own page to interact with other
    entities of the community. He may add to its own network other organizations or persons
    that have common interests , that are part of the same exchange and cooperation
    spinneret. He may sponsor or create events, place at everybody disposal its skills and
    give free information, open and produced by the users.
    The project is based on a geo-references system created to visualize and to connect
    close subject. A fair purchasing group (GAS), for instance, may get in touch with all the
    GAS and producers placed on the same territory. It may also let all the other GAS know
    their producers and express opinion on their products by sending e-mails. Or, a solar
    panels fitter may create a network with the companies supplying energy facilities and
    with the Municipalities of his Region that have decide to invest in clean energy.
    Zoes allows to connect in a network subjects living in the same city, province or region,
    or to extend relationships between different organizations that may establish a
    common field of activity.

    ZOES is…

    Social Network
    A social network to create an online community where people and organizations loom
    and meet following criteria of kinship, skills and common purposes through communication
    system, focus groups, networking demands.

    Zoes directs
    A wide map with pinned upon, as icons, all the organizations, the events, the
    work/stage bidding and the tenders in the field of fair-sustainability. An advanced
    geo-localization system of Zoes’ inhabitants and of some of the contents that they
    have plugged in, accomplished by using the Google mapping mechanism.

    Zoes in Action
    Tools to map initiatives and good practices, start
    and spreading out campaigns, making of focal
    groups and critical mass to merge forces and improve
    its own community.
    Today Zoes in action offers two ways for “active
    participation”: publishing of social campaigning
    that you can subscribe, and “Lets Map!”, dedicated
    to the geographic location of places and initiatives
    linked in a common purpose.

    Good-market
    An e-commerce platform in favour of fair and collective purchasing, of short spinneret
    and transparent price, respecting the environment and social responsibility, a facility
    due to spread out products accomplished in the fully respect of social responsibility
    and of the environment, to offer a concrete possibility for responsible wear to citizens
    and experiences community.

    10 thematic channels

    Zoes is mainly information and spreading of knowledge and its contents are supported
    by ten thematic channels feed by the inhabitants of the community. Operating directly
    by its own profile it will be possible to enter contents to be shared with all Zoes’ users,
    an opportunity for citizen journalism. Nevertheless, on the thematic channels it will be
    possible to announce events, job bidding, links, editing, tenders and regulations, useful
    tools to be up dated on the world of fair-sustainability.
    Zoes’ channels are: Living & Building, Food & Agriculture, Finance & Savings, Energy &
    Eco-efficiency, Policy & Participation, Health & Wellness, Rights & Social Networks,
    Knowledge & Communication, Travels & Hospitality, Production & Responsibility.

    Announced by….

    To warrant reliability and transparency of the subjects hosted inside the web site, Zoes
    has chosen a system based on the participation of users and networks of existing social
    and alternative economy. These subjects are Zoes’ “signallers” and share the task
    of validation of the access requests to the community introduced by the registered organisations.
    Therefore to have a growing presence in the local communities, Zoes gives the possibility
    to become “Signaller Partner” not only for national organisations or networks, but
    also to the ones based and working at a local level and that may predominantly
    provide credentials in the fair-sustainable zone for groups of their territory.

    GOOD MARKET

    An e-commerce system, carried out to supply facilities to social and environmental responsible
    enterprises and to answer positively to needs for critical wear rising from
    communities and individuals.
    Good-market is different from other e-commerce platform because:
    – It does not imply registration fee and carrying out a n o n-line shop : costs will be
    supported by Zoes, producers are required to deposit only a percentage of the
    selling;
    – Allows companies to reduce the spinneret distribution , by interpose between them
    and the consumers only the electronic commerce;
    – Allows companies to be visible in a coherent framework , supported by the most influential
    Italian organizations promoting sustainability principles, a web site where
    social and environmental responsibility is a real competitive advantage for producers;
    – Favours collective purchasing , with a specific operation that allows, existing or established
    through Zoes, Fair Purchasing Groups to obtain discounts on the
    products prices for purchases of a certain amount;
    – Underlines transparent prices , asking producers to specify how different producing
    factors score the final price: rough material, transportation, work, etc..
    – Allows to establish a direct clients database , the ones that will purchase in each
    virtual shop inside Good-market, with whom the producer may establish a relationship
    based on reliability.
    The e-commerce platform Good-market is made possible in cooperation with Retalco,
    Italian leader company in the field of e-commerce and sympathetic with the social and
    environmental sustainability items. Retalco will place at the participants to Good-market
    disposal complete assistance, supporting them in all the spinneret: introduction,
    sponsorship, selling, posting and collection. Products distribution will be carried out
    by SDA carrier, agreed with Retalco.
    Collection and payments of Good-Market e-commerce will be managed through Banca
    Etica.

    Promoters
    Zoes is a Fondazione Culturale Responsabilità Etica and Fondazione Sistema Toscana
    project, carried out in partnership with Aam Terra Nuova, Altraeconomia, Banca Etica,
    Fa’ la cosa giusta, Terra Futura, Terre di Mezzo, Valore Sociale
    Contacts and information
    Email: partecipa@zoes.it
    http://www.zoes.it

  28. Thanks, Bill! Well, actually, I should say thanks to you and all of the commenters who have shared additional links as well. I’ve bookmarked this post and it makes a great resource for beginning to look at all of the great work various individuals and organizations are doing building these green networks.

  29. Hi Ryan,

    It looks like a fairly new site. Hopefully it will help in getting people to take some action to help make the world a little better place to live in.

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