April 2020 archive

Reflections on Earth Day 1990 – And How It Fundamentally Changed My Life

Earth-day-1990-nh-776As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day today, April 22, 2020, my mind jumped back 30 years to "Earth Day 1990" in the state of New Hampshire. I made some choices that year and seized some opportunities that introduced me to the worlds of communications, community organizing, and public relations. I approached 1990 thinking I was going to be finishing up a Masters in Education degree and heading back to Connecticut to teach in a public high school. But life took very different turns and presented new opportunities. The choices I made then set me on the path that led to where I am 30 years later.

I reflected on all this in a podcast episode:

Happy Earth Day to you all!

P.S. See also this post I wrote today: On this 50th Earth Day, We Are Using The Internet To Change The World

TDYR 392 – Reflections on Earth Day 1990 and How It Fundamentally Changed My Life

On this 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, I look back 30 years and tell the story of how the events that led to Earth Day 1990, and the choices I made, fundamentally changed my life and set me on the path that led to where I am today... See also this post: https://www.internetsociety.org/blog/2020/04/on-this-50th-earth-day-we-are-using-the-internet-to-change-the-world/

On this 50th Earth Day, We Are Using The Internet To Change The World

A view of the Earth from space from NASA image library

50 years ago when the first Earth Day happened, the networks that would later form the Internet were only beginning.

20 years later, when Earth Day 1990 turned the celebration into a global event, the World-Wide Web existed only as a single website in Switzerland.

Today, the Internet is our lifeline. In a world locked down by coronavirus, the Internet is how we connect. It is how we communicate, collaborate, and create together. It is how we work and how we play. And on this Earth Day 2020, we will use the Internet to celebrate the 50th anniversary.

Each and every day, we are using the Internet to respond to climate change and other environmental issues:

  • Scientists are collaborating and sharing their knowledge. They are finding new solutions and creating new programs.
  • Projects are crowdsourcing vast amounts of data from regular people around the world (ex. Earth Challenge 2020)
  • We are sharing ideas and learning from each other.
  • Policy makers are learning what works in other regions.
  • We are avoiding unnecessary travel and reducing our carbon footprint.
  • Activists are joining in global movements.
  • We are seeing that what affects someone in one part of the world may affect us all.

This open, globally-connected network of networks empowers us to work for change. The Internet enables us to confront global challenges, whether those are viruses or a changing climate.

These many benefits do, of course, have costs. The Internet’s networks need electricity to operate. The data centers used by many services offered on the Internet can use huge amounts of power and water. All our many devices are leaving a long trail of discarded “e-waste”. These are challenges we all must confront.

We also face the reality that on this day, 49% of the world will not be able to join in the online celebrations. They are not able to work at home during this coronavirus crisis. They do not have the Internet access that most of us take for granted. The many opportunities of the Internet are not shared evenly – we must grow the Internet and connect the unconnected.

If we are to solve the many global challenges before us, we must tap into the creativity and ingenuity of people around the world. Everywhere. We must connect, communicate, and collaborate. We must share our ideas and innovations. We must learn from each other and help each other.

Now, more than ever, we must ensure that the Internet of opportunity is available to everyone.

We are stronger together. And through working together, we will find new ways to change the world.

Happy Earth Day!

Image credit: NASA Image Library

The post On this 50th Earth Day, We Are Using The Internet To Change The World appeared first on Internet Society.

TDYR 391 – Taking a Coffee Break via Zoom and Slack during COVID-19 Pandemic

In a time of isolation, how can you use virtual coffee breaks to connect with others? In this episode, I talk about how people within my organization have used the combination of Zoom and Slack to have virtual coffee (or tea) breaks to connect with each other. I also offer some tips for someone wanting to do this within your organization...

TDYR 390 – On Why We Need To Write in Plain Language

Why do we write articles that people can't understand? How can we be more clear and concise in our writing? How can we reduce the load on the brains of our readers? In this episode I talk about how critically important it is to write in "plain language" so that you text can be understood by the widest number of readers. Some of the resources I mention include: - http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_language - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_English - https://plainlanguage.gov/ - https://plainlanguage.gov/resources/checklists/web-checklist/ What techniques and strategies do YOU find effective for writing in plain language?

TDYR – The COVID-19 Pandemic – Personal Reflections from Vermont

It’s been one month since the first positive case of COVID-19 was found in Vermont, where I live. In this episode I talk through some of my thoughts about what all is going on...