It’s hard for me to believe this, but my blog turns 10 today. I started it back in the cold February of 2005 in Cambridge MA with the idea of creating a forum for small-scale environmental activism. The original mission statement is still on the web, along with the first posts from Valentine’s Day of 2005, which focused on re-forming pumpkin cookie cutters into hearts. (Now THERE’s some serious activism). Though it’s not really spelled out anywhere, the initial impetus for the blog was to look for something hopeful and actionable at a time that seemed pretty desperate. The Bush presidency had us deep in the second Iraq war, the impacts of climate change were just beginning to be felt and realized, and (of course) it was winter in Boston, which will make anyone feel hapless.
Though the blog has never been particularly well-read, I have to say that for ten years it has been a great outlet–and one that has given me a feeling of (possibly false) efficacy as I’ve tried to construct a life that manages to be joyful without denying some of the tougher realities of our time. Of course, ten years later the political atmosphere may be even more dire, the challenges even more intractable–and so I anticipate that I’ll keep up with my lifestyle blogging if only because it creates a space in my life where I feel like I’ve done something positive, beautiful, and hopefully also supportive of the ideal of more sustainable human lifestyles.
I have to say that the most amazing thing about these past ten years is the incredible chorus of like-minded (and better) blogs, publications, websites, and media that has grown up on the web and in our popular culture. When I got started with Sparrowpost, I felt a little bit stranded, and in need of a community. Now I read a series of blogs daily that make me feel that I’m part of a movement–whether it be Planetizen, NextCity, Grist, RootSimple, or the online forums provided by the LA Times, the New Yorker or the NYT. While there have been some casualties in the same time period: treehugger, worldchanging.org, whipup.com, not to mention the strange demise of environmentalist writing on apartmenttherapy.com (which used to have a dedicated green living blog), the overall environment is richer than it was when I started, and more mainstream. The outpouring of considered thought and writing on these topics is true reason for hope–one that groups like 350.org are increasingly cashing in on as movement becomes less personal, and more politically oriented. I hope that in the next 10 years, that both the wellspring of thought and the wellspring of action will overflow, and that we will see real progress on climate and other actions.
In the meantime, I will keep tending my little vanity plot here on the web, which manages to be strangely sustaining as I try to keep up my spirits in the grind of trying to make more substantive action. Thank you, interwebs, for 10 great years.