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Scott Dodd’s Blog

Great green Twitter feeds for environmental news junkies

Scott Dodd

Posted December 1, 2008 in The Media and the Environment

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NRDC recently added a link to the front page of Switchboard, inviting you to follow our blog posts via Twitter.

If you're one of more than a million people already using Twitter, it needs no explanation. If you're not, well ... I'll give it a try, because I think it's becoming a great tool for tapping into news and conversation about issues critical to the environment, both from NRDC and the larger "green" community.

Twitter logoTwitter is described as "micro-blogging." Users type in short updates on their computer or cellphone -- no more than 140 characters -- about what they're doing, what they're reading, what they're working on, or some thought that just crossed their minds. TechCrunch says that Twitter users send a combined 3 million messages (known as "tweets") every day.

If you have a Twitter account, you can "follow" other users, and they can follow you. My brother who lives in Colorado uses Twitter, for instance, and by following him, I can keep track of what he's up to (or what he chooses to share with the world, anyway). Twitter users can also respond directly to one another and engage in a conversation, 140 characters at a time.

Still scratching your head? This video provides a simple look at how Twitter works:

For me, as someone who reads and writes a lot about the environment, Twitter provides a great way to keep track of what others in my field are working on. Besides Switchboard, I also follow co-workers, fellow bloggers, online journalists, science writers, bike commuters and others who share interests similar to my own.

And by following news organizations and blogs, I get an increasing amount of my news through Twitter -- a big change for someone who made a living by committing ink to newsprint for 12 years.

As with any new technology, there are certainly drawbacks. Twitter is "noisy," meaning there's a lot of random stuff floating around, and not all of it is useful. So you've got to learn to filter out the noise. Some people, of course, have a higher tolerance than others.

For environmentalists who are new to Twitter or thinking about giving it a try, let me suggest my own personal list of "gotta follow" green Twitter feeds to get you started. Some are news, some are conversation, some are activism, and some are just random (like my own), but those often turn out to be the most engaging.

News and views

Switchboard logo@NRDCSwitchboard: And not just because I work here, either. Time magazine named Switchboard one of the top green websites because NRDC employs the nation's smartest environmental lawyers, scientists and policy experts, and Switchboard is where they share first-person insights into their work.

@DotEarth and @revkin: Andrew Revkin covers climate change for The New York Times and writes Dot Earth, one of the best environmental blogs around. He also writes songs and plays in a band. Who knows where he finds the time. (Also worth following: The Times' @greeninc, which covers green tech, business and energy.

@greenoptions: Green Options Media has a stable of eco-focused blogs that explore everything from environmental politics to eating.

@theoildrum: Focuses on energy.

SciFri logo@scifri: If you love NPR's Science Friday, you can actually use this tweet to ask questions during the show, which often tackles environmental topics.

@ProPublica: A nonprofit investigative news service that does a lot of digging into energy and environmental issues.

@Grist: The edgy Seattle-based environmental magazine is never dull.

Trends and tech

ecogeek logo@ecogeek: The appropriately named Hank Green is obsessed with "science, technology, gadgets and ... baby seals" and has perhaps the world's coolest green-themed logo.

@greenwash: American Public Media's Greenwash Brigade works to sort green truth from fiction.

@GreenTechNews, @mlamonica: Martin La Monica, green tech blogger at CNET.

@greenskeptic: Scott Edward Anderson keeps an eye on green tech trends.

Jetson Green logo@jetsongreen: A daily web magazine that covers sustainable architecture, eco-friendly development and clean energy technology. (Check out JG's own list of must-follow green Twitters.)

Writers and activists

@bhcarmichael: Between classes at Oxford, Ben blogs for NRDC's award-winning OnEarth magazine and Huffington Post Green. Other NRDC bloggers on Twitter (besides me) include @apollogonzales, @iwilker, @philgutis and @jschmidtnrdc.

starfocus photo@starfocus: Danielle Brigida of the National Wildlife Federation (which also has a feed, as does her colleague Kristin Johnson) is a pioneer in using social media to protect wildlife and the environment. She was also Ranger Rick's alter ego on Facebook, until Rick got banned for not being a "real person." (I loved that magazine as a kid.)

@greenlagirl: Siel, an environmental writer and activist, is plugged into just about everything green in Los Angeles.

@ejgertz: Writes for change.org, Worldchanging, Popular Mechanics, Scientific American and too many other places to name.

@sharishapiro: A Philadelphia attorney who writes about green building and the law (and is planning to go a "year without stuff" in 2009).

Max Gladwell logo

@maxgladwell: Where social media and green living come together. (Max is not an actual person, but a persona created by blogger and marketer Rob Reed.)

@carlpope: Executive director of the Sierra Club.

@teensygreen: Advice for moms who want to consume more "greenly" for their kids (did I just make up a word?)

@scribeguy: Michael Hawthorne writes about the environment for The Chicago Tribune.

CarbonFreeGirl photo

@CarbonFreeGirl: An environmental activist and ... race car driver? How's that work again? Leilani Münter explains how she tries to bring her two passions together.

@journojos: Josie Garthwaite covers clean technology and green consumer trends for Sierra magazine and is keeper of the Green Life blog.

@carlzimmer: Zimmer writes books, essays and articles that offer amazing insight into life on this planet -- and isn't that what the environment is all about?

Fun and offbeat

NatHistoryWhale logo

@NatHistoryWhale: Sure, you can and should follow @atAMNH to see what's up with the museum's groundbreaking Climate Change exhibition, but wouldn't you also like to hear from the big blue whale hanging from the ceiling?

@noimpactman: New York City's Colin Beavan tries to live with zero negative impact on the environment.

@idealbite: Serving up "bite-size ideas for light-green living."

@ecorazzi: Even gossip can be green.

@ecochickie: Author, editor and HuffPo blogger Starre Vartan made Earth First's list of the hottest girls in green.

MarsRovers logo@MarsRovers: NASA's Spirit and Opportunity spend all their time exploring the environment. OK, it's the environment on another planet, but it's still informative and fascinating and could teach us something about our own.

And finally...

@algore: No really, it's Al Gore!

This list certainly isn't definitive, and it isn't meant to be. It's just mine (and it could very well change tomorrow). That's one of the great things about Twitter -- there's always a great new tweeter to discover, and you can pick and choose the ones that you find most valuable.

I'd love to hear in the Comments section about great green feeds that you think I've missed (including yours). I'm @scottdodd, if you want to follow me. And I hope that @NRDCSwitchboard makes your list.

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Comments

Shari ShapiroDec 1 2008 10:15 AM

Thanks for the shout out!

Chris CheathamDec 1 2008 12:12 PM

Thanks for the great list. Twitter is such a valuable resource.

Like Shari, I cover green building law issues on my twitter feed (@chrischeatham) and on my blog: www.greenbuildinglawupdate.com

Keep up the great work!
Chris

AnnaDec 1 2008 12:21 PM

Scott, I noticed (and correct me if I am wrong) but are any the women that you follow mothers too? The reason why I ask is that you might be interested in following the green mom carnival which is comprised of a group of very environmentally minded woman whose occupations include attorneys, accountants, marketing specialists, activist, etc. Each month we discuss a topic, such as global warming, commercialization of the holidays, and this month, a prevention agenda for the newly elected president.

We believe that change starts at home and women who spend most of the household budget are the catalyst to starting that change.

I would encourage everyone to follow this carnival as well as each participant who is a member of the carnival. We all have different agendas and are quite interesting if I say so myself.

Anyone can participate in the carnival simply by submitting an article. You do not need to have children or be a woman to submit an article. All are welcomed. See www.OrganicMania.com for information.

If you wish to follow the carnival: see @greenmoms.

I am @greentalk, the editor of Green Talk, a green living blog for your home and garden. The blog is based upon my own personal experiences having built an eco-friendly house four years ago and my decade growth of being a greener citizen. Just think of the amount of time you spend in your home and how important to make your home as energy efficient, sustainable, and nontoxic as possible. Green Talk encourages conversations so everyone can share their own experiences and think about ways to reduce their own carbon footprint.

Thanks for providing this forum to let your readers know about the Green Moms and Green Talk twitter accounts. Hope everyone will consider following us. If you have problem finding either of us, just send me an email via Green Talk.

Scott @ NRDCDec 1 2008 12:32 PM

Thanks for the green mom info, Anna. I'm not sure how many of the tweeters on my list are mothers, but @teensygreen definitely is.

She's not focused on the environment, but for good mom blogging, I have to recommend @AmyZQuinn, a friend of mine from college who writes Citizen Mom in Philly (her motto: Democracy + Domesticity).

Ben JerveyDec 1 2008 12:55 PM

Great list, Scott! As I'm working to learn more and more about "social media" to help promote the great citizen journalism on Greenlight, I've been looking around for such a comprehensive list. Thanks for making my job easier!

(Side note--and not at all relevant to environmental issues, but I can't help but mention that Shaq's new twitter account is nothing short of genius! As someone said, he's taken us straight to Web 4.0. http://twitter.com/THE_REAL_SHAQ

Martin LaMonicaDec 1 2008 12:59 PM

Yes, thanks Scott for the shout-out. great list!

Ian @ NRDCDec 1 2008 01:55 PM

A fine list, Scott. And -- as always seems to be the case when someone takes the time to publish a new list of environment-focused twitterfolk -- I've found lots of new follows in the above.

For those interested in more people to follow, blogger Kim Woodbridge has an excellent list she updates regularly.

p.s. Ben -- two recent Shaq tweets that slay me:

How come i have the mr rogers neighborhhood theme song stuk n my head, iz he still alive 11:05 AM Nov 29th from txt

and his thanksgiving blessing:

Happy thanksgivn to all the twitterrific people twitterrin in twitterland 4:56 PM Nov 26th from txt

Gotta love it.

Nancy AndersonDec 1 2008 02:32 PM

You're right Scott. My web mistress has been urging me to join Twitter. I resisted for months, but she was right. I've already found an entire network of green, high performance folks and I log on every day.

Andy SternbergDec 1 2008 02:48 PM

Thanks Scott... this is a great list -- several new people I look forward to following on Twitter!

Tim HurstDec 1 2008 04:59 PM

Great list, Scott. And thanks for the nod to @greenoptions. We have been slowly rolling out individual Twitter streams for each of our blogs if one prefers an additional layer of precision in their Twitter feeds.

Another excellent Twitter feed you might want to keep an eye on for environmental and science news is @BBC_Earth.

-Tim (@ecopolitologist)

Trish SmithDec 1 2008 05:00 PM

Great list of green websites! Don't forget to check out Green Student U (http://www.greenstudentu.com), which introduces students to environmental issues by recognizing college campus green initiatives, green student success stories and global environmental reform.

Derek MarkhamDec 1 2008 05:21 PM

Thanks for the list! My "following" list just got a lot longer...

Here's a few of my favorite green Tweets not mentioned above:

@appropedia
@NWF
@greenbiztweets
@gogreentube
@enviroblog
@greenmom
@CrunchyGoddess
@GreenSmith

And then there's me: @derekmarkham

Joseph JakutaDec 1 2008 06:18 PM

Nice post.

AnnaDec 1 2008 08:49 PM

Scott, you are right about teensygreen. I missed her in your list. I follow her as well but I know you would love us green mom who by the way are not all moms. Some are moms of the earth. Would love a post from you!!! Fathers of the Earth count too.

I wish you had a subscribe to comments on your blog so I can follow the conversation rather than checking back.

Starre VartanDec 2 2008 12:01 AM

I LOVE Twitter! So fun and lets you get those little juicy bits of thought out before you lose them forever. Thanks for including me on the list....as a word dork bonus I definitely enjoy the poem-like limits of the 140 words...how did they decide to come up with that character limit I always wonder?

Katharine RobinsonDec 2 2008 04:34 AM

Thanks for drawing my attention to this list. I'll be following many more folks by the end of the day I'm sure.
To see my current favourite green follows, check out http://tinyurl.com/58n33t

Katharine
@TheSourceress

Scott @ NRDCDec 2 2008 10:51 AM

Thanks, everyone, for your great comments and suggestions. Looks like I'll be following some new folks, too.

On a related note, thought I'd mention that NRDC will have a delegation in Poland over the next two weeks for the international climate negotiations. They'll be posting on Switchboard here, and you can follow their Twitter updates (as well as others from delegates around the world) here.

Kim WoodbridgeDec 4 2008 10:01 AM

Great List! I like the way you've separated them into categories.

@Ian - Thanks for mentioning my list. I must admit that I have not updated it quite some time - I keep meaning to. The list also includes an opml file if you want to add all of those user's blogs to your RSS reader.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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