The green economy is growing, and along with it, green websites and communities are sprouting up all over the webosphere. Online communities, blogs and social networks aimed at connecting well meaning people with great causes (and each other) have exploded. Nowadays, it only takes an Internet connection to rally around issues like climate change, clean energy, or green collar jobs.
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.
Top 15 Green Social Networks for Different Shades of Green
Face it, there are many shades of green…so which green social network is right for you? We’ve researched the top most influential, active, and interesting social networks for Green causes, and have categorized them, for your convenience, below:
Social Networks for the Carbon Footprint to Geo-Spatial Mapping Obsessed
Ready for a challenge? Carbonrally challenges you to… give your computer a rest, by unplugging your computer every night for one month. This is one of many do-able challenges members can take on – and not feel alone and dwarfed by the immensity of the Earth’s climate woes. Carbonrally aims to create a place where many people could discover and commit to small, positive actions over time.
If you are a natural team player and/ or somewhat competitive, Carbonrally is a great way for individuals and groups to have fun making an impact on energy consumption and climate change.
Check out their Total Impact Map for the amount of CO2 reduced by members across the globe. Trippy.
11thhouraction.com was inspired by popular documentary “The 11th Hour” (narrated by Leonardo Dicaprio). It’s environmentally focused social network aimed at empowering individuals and groups to 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.
Social Networks for Cause Driven Activists
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 can 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.
Social Networks for Socially Responsible Business Champions
If you are true believer in socially responsible business and social entrepreneurship, then you must check out Social Edge – NOW! Social Edge, a project of the Skoll Foundation for social entrepreneurship, is the global online community where social entrepreneurs and other practitioners of the social benefit sector connect to network, learn, inspire and share resources.
Here you can get expert advice, find funding for your social business, peruse job listings in the social enterprise sector, and discover incredible social entrepreneurs in their Social Entrepreneur Directory.
Justmeans is a social network for the business for good” community, a place where professional do gooders of all orientations, from activists to social entrepreneurs to CSR (corporate social responsibility) buffs and green marketing fanatics, can network, share information, and collaborate on making business better for people and the planet.
Social Networks for NGO & Policy Wonks
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.
If you are into serious, thoughtful discussion on sustainability issues with environmental policy wonks, you may want to join the conversation happening at Connect2Earth. Connect2earth is global green on-line community set up by two of the world’s largest environmental organizations – the WWF and IUCN.
Here, you can debate green issues with world’s top experts – for real – share your thoughts, videos, and photos, AND be rewarded for your contribution. If you are a top contributor, you are eligible to win a solar charger for your cell phone, or better yet a trip somewhere cool, like the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen that happened this past December, as part of the official WWF or IUCN delegation.
Social Networks for Youth Activists
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.
Social Networks for Hippies
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.
Social Networks for LOHAS & Green Lifestyle Afficionados
Greenopolis needs a site revamp badly, because it’s not really clear what the site is about from the first glance. Is Greenopolis primarily a Green Rewards site? A green blogging community? Or a Green news and lifestyle site? It seems to try to accomplish all in a patchwork kind of way. They do appear to have members, but how exactly can members connect with each other in a meaningful way is not clear to me.
However, in spite of the overall confusion of their home page, Greenopolis does appear to be encouraging more recycling through their GreenOps Tracking System – a product-specific and consumer-driven recycling program that combines the infrastructure of Waste Management, the GreenOps Tracking Symbol and Tracking Stations, online information at Greenopolis.com, and Think Green Rewards (whatever that means). Watch the video explanation.
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?
Social Networks for the Complainers
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?