Environmental bloggers go to great lengths to confront the dual challenge of making people aware of serious environmental concerns, and inspiring them to do something about it. We absolutely have to cut carbon emissions, a message that Bill McKibben and the crew at 350.org have driven across the planet, so that global weather patterns don’t spiral out of control. And in order to do that, we have to reduce our dependence on oil and gas.
For some, that may mean installing a few solar panels and an organic garden on their roof. For those who don’t own a home but drive a car, reverting to bicycles or public transportation would make a difference. Not only do these small actions add up, but almost all of the “green” initiatives we have introduced can lead to a deeper and happier life. Earnest bloggers desperate to unlock the shackles of traditional media elbow their way through greenwashers and meek government in order to spread this urgent message. In Lebanon, their work is beginning to pay off.
Electronic media electrified
According to the activist and blogger Tony Saghbini, Lebanon’s 400 blogs have almost as much readership as the country’s online newspapers, about 14,000 hits every day.
And even though Lebanon’s internet connectivity is sketchy, internet publication laws are up for debate, and the Lebanese government is less shy to censor, Saghbini claims that the country’s youth are turning to blogs not only to stay abreast of issues but also to mobilize.
He sites the example of Rami Eid, who last year spent three days and nights in a glass cube outside of Beirut in order to raise awareness. Metaphorically, he was earth’s last man standing, alienated and in a big cube of ka ka under the blazing hot sun as a result of our failure to change the behavior that is toppling our one planet.
Wishy washy red tape
Mr. Saghbini describes how the campaign was directed at mostly electronic media, and how in the first few days of this artistic protest, thousands of people read Eid’s personal blog, tweeting and sharing the radical move. As a result, Lebanon got busy, and eventually the country participated in the Copenhagen climate talks (failed, because of the exact same wishy washy red tape the blogosphere attempts to cuts through.)
Bloggers in Lebanon are exercising their political mettle too. In May this year, they appealed for permission to monitor voting booths during the elections, and then recorded live observations on their respective blogs. Those were then posted towww.lebloggers.org, which earned 60,000 hits. Bloggers also used their best tools to stay a law that would have allowed governments to control the blogosphere.
The challenge to mobilize the masses and governments is ever-present. Lebanese bloggers united show us how it’s done.
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image via saschapohflepp