Environmental Twitter is the community on Twitter used to share an environmental message. This is everything from someone posting about their compost, a city promoting recycling, environmental activism, businesses promoting their projects, and the endless tweets about climate change. Twitter is a great tool for all of these. But if you spend more than a little time there, you’ll get the good and the bad and the ugly. That is the dilemma of Environmental Twitter.
If you’re a person on Twitter, as apposed to a business or organization, you’re likely there for several reasons. I’m on Twitter for news, to follow family and friends, sports, running, and the environmental community. I follow environmental scientists and groups to keep tabs on the field. For example, I wasn’t in Washington DC for the Climate and Science Marches that took place in April 2017. Twitter was a great tool to follow the build up, see the community, and watch everything unfold. That’s the good.
Unfortunately, environmental news isn’t all positive. In fact, you might think it’s 90% negative if you spend any time on Twitter. The negative side of Environmental Twitter is primarily focused on 2 issues: climate change and the lack of appreciation of environmental issues due to politics. Twitter is a good tool to spread theses messages and interact. But when every environmental related person, organization, politician, etc. tweets about the same negative issue, it can be draining to read over and over…and over and over. Maybe that’s the point. These issues are important.
Then before you know it the bad turns ugly. Scientists getting attacked for doing their jobs. Politicians rallying support to discredit research. The head of the EPA calling for a TV show debating climate change. The tipping point for me was the day the current President rejected the Paris Climate Agreement. A shortsighted, irresponsible decision. All the bad and ugly came out on Environmental Twitter that day.
What do I do about it? I’ve taken a couple Twitter breaks since then. I still use twitter for all the reasons I mentioned above. Then I see a tweet like this from the Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences.
I'm tired of seeing environmental activists on social media with only cute slogans & selfies. What are you really doing for the world?
— Jon Foley (@GlobalEcoGuy) June 16, 2017
Damn, dude. That’s heavy. What if I just want to tweet about a good run?
I remember a tweet, which I didn’t save, that went something like this. Twitter is good for 2 things: 1) wasting time and 2) getting angry. Instead of becoming angry and getting out of the negative side of Environmental Twitter, get in it. Take all that input and create some output. Spread the environmental messages, good and bad. For me, it’ll be mixed in with tweets about beer, football, parenting, and the rest of life.
You can follow me for all that and more @RMPPro.