Blog Action Day, by the numbers (plus a great music video)

Not to turn this into yet another tree-hugger blog, but I thought I’d share a recap of Blog Action Day 2009, which was last Thursday, Oct. 15, and the topic of which was climate change.

  • Number of bloggers participating (according to the Blog Action Day 2009 blog): Around 32,000.
  • Number of nations represented: 55.
  • Number of continents represented: 6.
  • Number of higher ed bloggers participating (unofficial)*: 2 (me and Davina Gould). Not great representation, granted. But it all starts with small steps and small actions.

Even if you skipped or forgot about Blog Action Day, you can still make a statement about climate change.

First, please watch this video from the Tck, Tck, Tck Campaign:

Now, please add your name to the I Am Ready campaign to encourage our world leaders to sign a climate commitment in Copenhagen in December.

Thanks for reading and for taking action. This is the only earth we’ve got.

[/self-righteous rant]

* That’s just the number of higher ed bloggers I’m aware of who participated. If you participated and I didn’t include you in this list, please leave a comment and let me know.

It’s Blog Action Day, so I’m blogging about climate change, along with thousands of others

Note: I’m a few hours early with my Blog Action Day post, because I’ll be on the road tomorrow. Ironic, isn’t it, that I’ll be traveling, emitting carbon, on a day when so many of my blogging colleagues will be promoting awareness of climate change. But at least I’ll be off the grid, which may help offset my emissions for the day. And maybe posting this early will earn me some brownie points in the metaphysical realm. Whatever. Happy BAD.

I’m no expert on climate change, but today (Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009) is Blog Action Day, and bloggers all over the world are devoting time and bandwidth to this year’s topic, which is global warming. That’s a huge issue, and it’s going to affect me whether I’m an expert on it or not. Given this fact, it would be rather picayune to post my usual fare about some new trend in social media or how to fine-tune your marketing strategy or how I still don’t have a Google Wave invite.

So. Climate change.

What a huge issue. Where to begin?

OK, let’s start locally, and with something I know a little bit about.

I work at a university that has signed on to the Presidents Climate Commitment. That’s a pledge — signed by presidents or chancellors of more than 650 colleges and universities — to take meaningful steps toward a carbon-neutral existence. I’m glad our institution is part of this collective effort, because colleges and universities should be among the leaders on issues of social responsibility — not just climate change, but that’s a start.

But as many institutions have discovered during this economic downturn, it’s one thing to make a pledge and quite another to carry out the work. As The Chronicle of Higher Education reported last spring (subscription required), many of the signatories to the Presidents Climate Commitment have yet to follow through on their pledge. Most campus leaders blame the economy for scaling back on their plans to attain carbon neutrality. As for our campus, we’re still putting together our initial plan. In the meantime, though, we’re working on trying to reduce our carbon footprint. We have what we consider some pretty ambitious goals for the current fiscal year — to reduce fossil fuel consumption of university-owned vehicles by 10 percent this year, and to reduce energy consumption by 3 percent per square foot of our physical plant. But we know that that is only a start.

Our campus’s green committee, which I serve on, has a lot of great ideas on how individuals can help our campus meet our goals for this year. Many of these ideas translate to personal steps each individual can take — at home, on campus, wherever you work. They include:

  • Cut back on business travel; opt for teleconferences whenever possible.
  • Turn off lights in unoccupied offices, classrooms and bathrooms.
  • Turn off computers and printers at the end of each day.
  • Close shades or blinds during summer and winter months to reduce solar heat from the sun and to keep offices warmer during the winter.
  • Turn off power to appliances at night to reduce phantom power drainage.

No-brainers, right? Yet, I’m amazed at how many people leave office lights on, keep their computers on overnight, etc.

In its entirety, climate change seems insurmountable. But looking at what each individual can do, it is possible to make a difference. Energy conservation is one area in which we can all make a difference. So, I challenge you, as we go into the late fall and winter months, to do what you can to reduce your energy use. Turn down the thermostat and put on a Snuggie. Carpool as much as possible. Skip that trip to a sister campus and teleconference instead. Turn off your computer when you’re not using it.

Just do your part. If nothing else, inform yourself about climate change.

Blog Action Day is coming

Blog Action Day 2009 will be upon us later this week — Thursday, Oct. 15, to be precise — and the organization behind the annual event ( wants bloggers everywhere to post something on the topic of climate change.

I doubt I’ll post anything on that date, because I’ll be contributing to climate change in my own way, by driving 190 miles, round trip, to participate in a social media summit with Brad J. Ward, Michael Stoner, Liz Allen and some other good folks. But at least I’ll be driving in a hybrid, so I’ll be using only half as much fossil fuel for that trip than I would were I still driving my previous vehicle, which was powered 100 percent by gasoline and internal combustion. (As a fellow hybrid driver once said, “I used to emit smog. Now I emit smug.” Now I’m in that club.)

But, I do plan to post something — either right before Blog Action Day (if I get my act together) or immediately afterward.

Are any of you other higher ed bloggers planning to post something about global warming on Blog Action Day? Let me know.

Blog Action Day: fight poverty with World Vision

Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event in which bloggers of all stripes are called to post commentary on a single topic. This year’s topic is poverty. In my work with churches and youth groups, the anti-poverty organization I’ve interacted with the most is World Vision. Through a church youth group, I’ve participated in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine program to help raise funds to fight poverty, and our group has also sponsored a child through World Vision. It isn’t much. It isn’t enough. But it is something.

Maybe you already support an anti-poverty cause. If so, please continue to support it. If not, I hope you’ll consider supporting World Vision. Here’s a promo video with some facts about global poverty that may open your eyes.

Tomorrow is Blog Action Day. Are you ready?

This morning I discovered, via a tweet from @lizstrauss, that tomorrow — Oct. 15, 2008 — is Blog Action Day. The purpose of this day is to unite the voices of bloggers everywhere to focus on one topic. This year’s topic is poverty.

From the site:

By all posting on the same day we aim to change the conversation that day, to raise awareness, start a global discussion and add momentum to an important cause.


Every blogger has a unique voice, audience and perspective. By speaking to their readers on topic about an important issue we can discuss global issues like poverty in a new and hugely multi-faceted way. And from discussion springs action.

I hope my fellow higher ed bloggers will join me in posting about poverty tomorrow. If you need some ideas to stimulate your thinking, here are several.
Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.