The Green web is growing. Rapidly. And it’s a good thing. Online communities, blogs and social sites aimed at connecting well meaning people with great causes (and each other) have mushroomed. Nowadays, all it takes to rally around issues like climate change, clean energy, or health care reform is an Internet connection.
At the same time, with all the Green social networks out there, it’s hard to know which online community is worth the time investment. Because, face it, social networking takes time. Whether you are an individual activist seeking to meet other like-minded people or a social change organization trying to build community around your cause, choosing the right online community can ensure that you get the most impact for your efforts.
Here are the top 10 most influential, active, and interesting social networks for Green causes:
Care2 was started in 1998 by Randy Paynter who wanted to harness the power of the Internet to make the world a better place. Care2 originally started as a online email and ecard service that donated a percentage of revenues to environmental nonprofits. It has since evolved into an interactive online community with nearly 12M members. On Care2 you cans support in a variety of social causes, from animal welfare to women’s rights, by donating to featured nonprofits, signing petitions, joining an interest group or simply staying informed.
Needless to say, the project has since outgrown Randy’s apartment and is now a company that has 50 employees, 9 million users and 400 non profit partners.
Change.org is the leading online community for social change. Originally Change.org provided a novel way for people to connect around positive social change – you would type in the change(s) you wanted to create in the world and you be able to find others in the community who were tagged with those same causes. The site has since evolved, providing daily news and information about important social issues, as well as the means for people to take action, and connect with nonprofits.
Change.org is a profitable social entrepreneurship venture based in San Francisco, CA founded by Stanford graduate Ben Rattray in 2005.
WiserEarth is a free online community space connecting the people, nonprofits and businesses working toward a just and sustainable world. It is a project of Paul Hawken’s Natural Capital Institute and built on a wiki platform that supports the world’s most detailed classification of issue areas related to social justice and environmental restoration. Here you will find the world’s largest free and editable international directory of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and socially responsible organizations (110,000 in 243 countries, territories, and sovereign islands) – wow!
In the spirit of Wikipedia, WiserEarth is open source, with content publicly available for use under the Creative Commons license.
11thhouraction.com was inspired by popular documentary “The 11th Hour” (narrated by Leonardo Dicaprio). It’s environmentally focused social network aimed at empowering inspire individuals and communities engage in planet-saving actions.
Users can sign up, create a blog, create their own environmental action campaigns, or commit to a personal action, like carpooling or recycling more. Actions get plotted on a map, so you can view the community’s environmental activism across the globe, or locate an action group near you.
DoSomething.org encourages teenagers to take positive social action, without the supervision of adults. This fun, teeny-bopperish site encourages kids to get out and do something through volunteerism, and also offers small grants to help teenagers to start their own projects. And if you want to start a club, all you need are 5 friends to apply, and DoSomething.org will provide resources, online infrastructure, opportunities to do good, and even fund your projects. Who needs grownups?
Taking It Global is another youth oriented social network with a mission to transform teenagers and young adults (ages 13-30) into young leaders of today.
Taking It Global provides a collaborative learning community that allows youth across the world access to global opportunities, cross-cultural connections and meaningful participation in decision-making. In addition to being an online social network, Taking It Global provides tools for educators, and helps facilitate research and learning opportunities through workshops and webinars for its members.
Since their inception Taking It Global has reached 14 million young people across 12 languages.
Holistic Local is a social network with a LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability) orientation, that focuses on connecting people who are into spirituality, health, the environment and conscious living locally. You can discover transformational workshops, participate in their holistic marketplace, access articles & e-books, and connect with thousands of crunchy-feely new age members.
The nag is a tongue in cheek UK based site lightens up on the earnest, do-gooder mentality that plagues environmental activists and makes eco-activism fun. First you start by ranting – get it off your chest. After you’ve let it all out, then you suggest solutions. After that, get out and do something! So while you’re ranting about the evils of bottled water in restaurants, it may actually occur to you in the midst of it all to ask for tap?
Lime.com – is all about healthy living with a green twist. The online community is operated by Gaiam, a green lifestyle company that provides information, goods and services to customers who value the environment, a sustainable economy, healthy lifestyles, alternative healthcare and personal development. Lime TV features videos from holistic health luminaries like Deepak Chopra and celebrity yogis like Rodney Yee. You can also listen to wide selection of Green lifestyle podcasts on topics such as herbal remedies, fitness, and meditation. Who would have thought that online Enlightenment was possible?
Know of any other great green social networks? Send your picks to Green Marketing 2.0 or send a Tweet to @lornali