Brighter Planet's blog
My name’s Ian Wilker; I’ve been on the Brighter Planet bandwagon for a couple months now, serving as your friendly neighborhood community manager. (Or “community advocate,” ”unmarketer,” ”pinko marketer,” Love Boat–style “social director” … I’m here to help Brighter Planet listen to, talk with, and in the end be responsive to our online user community.
I could have offered up a “Hello world” post here some time ago, but I’m kind of glad I waited – we’ve released the beta version of our new web service, and I’m rarin’ to get out into worlds online and off to talk about it and get a good feedback loop rolling. Now I can get into the nitty-gritty, into the reasons the prospect of joining Brighter Planet made me feel all tingly.
I grew up in rural Vermont, and my parents got me and brother Josh out into the woods at every opportunity, through all seasons. It wasn’t until much later, as a city-dwelling young adult, that I realized what a gift I’d been given by all that camping, backpacking, fishing, skiing, and so on. I started getting back out into the mountains at every opportunity; there’s just no place I feel more alive than in the woods, soaking in the infinitely rich sights, smells, sounds, textures of the natural world.
Over time, through stints as a book editor and then as a web nerd, I gravitated toward jobs that brought my abiding interest in the natural world into the work. I’ve done online-communications work for a large environmental organization for going on nine years. And again and again over that time, I’ve puzzled over the problem of how to show more people that doing the right thing by the environment is rarely hard – it’s just different from what most of us are used to. It’s about examining a lot of habitual behavior, and tweaking those behaviors when there’s a more planet-friendly way to get something done.
And anyone can learn new habits – IF one goes about it in the right way. It’s process and practice that we get tangled up in. At least that’s how I’m built, it seems: give me a cut-and-dried blueprint of exactly what I want to do a little differently in a given situation, and I’m a lot more likely to start making the change. Give me a way to track the fruits of choosing a new option at a given decision point – or to see, plain as day, the stagnancy of not doing that new option, and I’ll be much more likely to really commit to the change.
We’re still building it out, but this is exactly what this next-generation of Brighter Planet will give me:
- What to do next time I’m (buying some fruit; taking a shower; running the dishwasher – on and on, ad infinitum)
- What making that more-sustainable choice actually does to my overall footprint – e.g. immediate feedback on the consequences of a given behavior.
Ain’t that cool? And even better: That’s just for starters. There’s a lot more to come, as I’ll explain soon in Part II of this series.