Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Blogging as if Our Future Depends on It

Click for photo credit.
I am giving a presentation today at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) on my blogging work called Blogging as if Our Future Depends on It. It is hard to imagine, but this blog started on Valentine's Day in 2011. Since then, my blog has become one of the most widely read sustainability blogs on the Internet. As such, I was very pleased to be part of a special session at AGU focused on geoscience and sustainability at the grass roots level organized by Geology in the Public Interest. My presentation focuses on reviewing the content and impact of my blog over the last 9 years.

Here's a quick snapshot of my presentation.

Since I started the blog, I've written over 1830 posts. The blog started as a classroom project. I assigned students in an introduction to sustainability class to create their own blogs focused on current events associated with sustainability. I blogged along with them. The first post was a silly one that emerged from a classroom exercise on how to "green" Valentine's Day. At the end of that semester, the students got their grades and stopped blogging, but I was hooked. Since then, the content and purpose of the blog has changed. Today, my main purpose is to engage students and the public on issues of sustainability in interesting and fun ways.

There are several main types of posts including general posts about news items, book reviews, interviews, information about parks and national monuments, and quite a bit of earth science—particularly karst and hydrology.

Over time, several main themes have emerged on the blog:

  • Intersections of earth science and sustainability
  • Current events in earth science and sustainability
  • Personal sustainability initiatives
  • International sustainability
  • My own publications and events
  • Higher education issues
  • Writing productivity
This map shows the countries that have visited the
blog in the last year.
The overall impact has been rather striking. I have had visitors from 163 different countries to the blog since it started. Many people stop by this space at least once a week. I regularly get emails from readers and many of the blog posts have led to radio and television interviews. Some of my blog posts are used in teaching assignments or as assigned readings. Overall, I reach more people with my blog than I do with my formal writing and articles.

As a writer and researcher, I find the blog is especially helpful to me as an historical archive. It is like my own personal annotated bibliography of things I care about.

There will be some changes coming to the blog in the coming months. Look for a new podcast, a writing workshop, some interesting interviews, and some new topical series.

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