Environmental Activists Using the Web


The Politico reports on a campaign by Friends of the Earth (FOE) in opposition to the America’s Climate Security Act S.2191, commonly referred to on the Hill as the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. (There’s a split within the environmental movement whether this bill is the best way to address climate change legislatively but FOE thinks it does not go far enough and would be a windfall to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries.)

Politico says that FOE adopted the by-the-book strategy of taking out ads in Capitol Hill newspapers to try to influence the public. But then they also bought ads on liberal blogs and environmental Web sites hoping that they would generate buzz for their side on this divisive issue. FOE made a two-week buy on Daily Kos, MyDD.com, openleft.com and Tapped, among others. The hope was that the campaign would get the issue to bubble up in the debates on the blogs, knowing that these blog sites’ readers include many engaged political activists. It worked…At least at generating buzz. The issue’s prominence rose on Daily Kos after the ads went up, and the issue became a front page item there. No doubt they recruited hundreds, if not thousands to their cause.

The struggle in Congress over climate change is just beginning, but FOE has shown that organizations that understand the power of the Web can use it to their advantage. That’s a promise of Web 2.0. We are seeing that like-minded activists are building their own networks at MyOpenCongress – connecting with people who are interested in the same legislation. Activists are literally on the tip of the iceberg in this arena of networking around issues and politicians of interest.