The best environmental blogs: the golden quarter


We worry about pennies costing more than they’re worth, but at least we are not burdened by golden quarters. (But then, I guess, the quarters would cease being quarters and become a store of value. I’ll leave this for the economics blogs I reviewed this week.) The reason I say ‘golden quarter’ is that my sojourn into blogs monikered Id – Sl was truly inspiring, so I think this section of the alphabet must be enchanted.

Inspiration; thank you flickr member kandyjaxx


Kudos to David Jeffery on etymology alone. He recognized that the prefix eco– (as in economics and ecology) comes from the Greek oikos, meaning ‘home’ or ‘domestic sphere.’ That’s right, it all starts with Greek housewives. (So why can’t they make nice?) He writes about economics and the environment in a really thoughtful way. If your interest in the tragedy of the commons idea was piqued by last week’s reviews, then check out his posts on the idea.

Joel Makower, “the guru of green business practices,” founder of, and author of an oral history of Woodstock. This guy knows his stuff; I found his posts frank, informed, and clear.

On the Commons. Critical of the dominant economic view that all meaningful wealth is created through market exchange, this blog explores the value of the commons in all its forms: nature (natural resources, wilderness), creativity & knowledge (scientific knowledge, art), hometown (parks, libraries), and everyday experience (personal reflection, family time). I am impressed with this blog and plan on visiting it regularly now. The ideas are interesting, and I like the activist, progressive feel of the project.

thank you flickr member Lady-bug

Great Minds

Kevin Kelly. Learning about this guy blew me away. Read a little about his life. This isn’t an “environmental” site really (that term is getting more and more arbitrary), but I had to mention him here. For a while he was posting his ideas-in-progress while writing a book about the meanings of technology. I like how questioning he is, and how he doesn’t claim to know everything even though he is incredibly experienced (a modern Socrates?).

George Monbiot. Also amazing. This isn’t a blog but a collection of Monbiot’s writings. Read about his life. The purpose of his writing: to cause as much trouble as possible in an effort to reduce violence around the world. He just published a book on the feasibility of reducing emissions by 90% (Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning).

Pruned. Go now. Go for the visual experience alone. A random question from him: “Can you design a landscape in which your sense of time is absurdly skewed?” I don’t know how to describe this one; I just know I want to disappear into Alexander Trevi’s imagination and never come back.

Miscellaneous Honorable Mentions

Measuring Sustainability. Oh, numbers. This is a young blog, and there aren’t many posts recently. I’m really intrigued by the way this guy thinks. He gets the award for precision. He is working on defining and quantifying what sustainability is.

Ideal Bite. The design of the blog is great, and the writers have attitude and a sense of humor. The idea is that small green changes add up without having to change your lifestyle. I enjoyed the style of the blog, I just couldn’t get over the Upper East Side, Terrapass-chic attitude.

Real Climate. I appreciate that this blog exists. It’s about climate science (they try to stay away from politics), by climate scientists. I found the posts clear and readable for a non-scientist. This is a great resource.

It’s Getting Hot in Here. There’s so much talk in the climate change discussion about the vague, embryonic “future generations.” Here they are, speaking for themselves. The energy and activist spirit of this blog really came through. Speaking of young people, I saw Eban Goodstein, project director for Focus the Nation, a nationwide discussion at high schools & universities planned for January 2008, speak at Lewis & Clark College recently. Make sure to get on board if you’re in school or involved in a school in any way.


I love Sludgie. Only The Onion makes me laugh more than this irreverent blog. Here’s a sample:

Profiles of Jackassery—Sen. Rick Santorum Believes in Intelligent Design, Unintelligent Upkeep

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is such a fan of his idea of God that he can’t stop pushing his idea of God’s agenda in his political career, including the “Santorum Amendment” to the No Child Left Behind bill, which, if it had passed, would have promoted teaching intelligent design in public schools. But while Richie looks around at the placid lakes, forests and marshes of Pennsylvania and considers their design intelligent, he doesn’t consider them his idea of God’s best work. That was his idea of God’s later stuff, after he sold out, and Rick is totally a fan from the early days, not some poseur. Richie prefers the fossil fuels that are underneath those ho-hum marshes and forests that come from the remains of dinosaurs that didn’t really exist.

Moving to the next round…

Sludgie, On the Commons, Pruned

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