Heckled By ParrotsBlue Sky WritingRebecca K. O'Connor

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Plugged In and Disconnected

I spend too much time on the Internet, but I think I have to. Never before has it been truer that just a few can cause a sea change. The whole world is accessible and listening and I don’t want to miss it. If you happen to catch the ears (or eyes) of a few social media mavens, you can start a wildfire on the wires that blazes through real life.

toserveman3

It's a Cook Book!

I understand intimately what the lack of outdoor exploration is doing to our children and our future. All the same, I do want to shake a finger at those who are turning off and dropping out of  Web 2.0. Perhaps in your heart of hearts you’re worried that Hulu.com really is run by aliens intent on rotting our brains because that’s how you Serve Man. Rod Serling, may he rest in peace, must have known better than anyone that it is far easier to imagine the potential pitfalls of technologic tragedy than the immense good it can do. I’m terrified that we’re missing out on this gigantic good because I quite frankly am not impressed with the good that’s being done now.

A WHAT Up?

I went to a Tweetup (a group of geographically connected people who use Twitter for marketing and communication) a few nights ago and was stunned that no one in this group of young and inspired social marketers had a clue who Ducks Unlimited was. (Is it a marketing firm? A publishing house?) It wasn’t like I was in Los Angeles. I’m in Sacramento, the cradle of western water policy and wetlands conservation. And I couldn’t make the excuse that they were uninitiated in the world of giving. This generation, believe it or not, embraces giving. What they did know about, however, was Twestival, a massive and successful Internet driven philanthropy working to raise funding for clean water in Africa.

I hate that this future generation of philanthropists is throwing their money at projects overseas before working to protect and restore the water they are consuming and sullying themselves. I hate that they know what Twestival is, but have no idea who is doing the work to conserve the wetlands and their access to clean water in their own backyard. And it’s our fault!

What about Our Lost Paradise?

Hen Mallard in Flooded Rice

Where all you all?

Where are the leaders who should be building a young inspired internet tribe of water warriors in North America?

I’m listening and I’m not hearing you. If you don’t step up now it will be over soon. The Internet is the world whether it’s a Nigerian scam or a child in Africa needing clean water. Someone somewhere is building a better mousetrap and you don’t have to be next door to discover it. People in Africa deserve clean water, I’ll throw in 20% of my giving to help, but the other 80% I’m scraping up for philanthropy is going in my backyard.

If the plane is going down, you have got to put your own mask on before you reach to help the person next you. But someone better have the fortitude to not only put on their mask, but make it to the cockpit. As Seth Godin would say, “We need you to lead us.” And I need you to lead me to water. In fact, it would be easier if we did it together. Come on, let’s go!

4 Comments

  1. Rebecca,

    I couldn’t agree more. I feel a virtual sneer over the internet when I push the LCA Trust Mission because I’m trying to preserve nature NEXT DOOR instead of in some far-off but mystical rain forest. I too want to preserve land elsewhere, but I can touch and feel the land (and of course water) next door and it is therefore, palpable and personal. I posted a similar theme on my blog a few weeks back (http://tinyurl.com/bxzvsc).

    Great post.

    Steve Meltzer

  2. rebecca says:

    I know, Steve. It’s such a shame that it’s a much bigger challenge to get people excited about what’s in their backyard. Of course the bigger problem is the overall disconnect with nature… I guess the best we can do is keep doing.

  3. Doug Potter says:

    Rebecca,

    Well written. I work in an elementary school and it always amazes me how little children know about what happens in their backyard. I farce them to read “my side of the Mountain.” and in the end they usually love it.

    By the way, People have been trying to recruit me to start twittering, I don’t see the point. Can you help me?

    Doug
    Harris’ Hawk Blog

  4. rebecca says:

    Doug,

    I had the good fortune of hearing Richard Louv (Last Child in the Woods) speak and bringing Cheryl Charles out to speak for the Girl Scout Council I worked at. I love the work they are doing with the Children And Nature Network. (www.childrenandnature.org) Check out their site.

    Twitter is an interesting thing… I’ve been on for a year and honestly for the first eight months found it to be terribly pointless. Then people starting getting imaginative with how to use it. I got hooked when I receive the tweet that @MarsRover had just verified sublimation. (WATER ON MARS!!) Yeah, totally nerdy, but I was among the first thousand or so people to know.

    I don’t follow very many people’s tweets directly to my phone, only a couple of friends (@jessicalawrence @workingprmama @drhypercube) and people who continually crack me up (@wilw @badbanana) Mostly when I tweet it’s to amuse myself, but this has surprised me by adding a few like-minded friends to my list. (and I mean that in the REAL sense – not in the Myspace sense). And when I actively engage it has introduced me to some like-minded people who have great information about things I care about — @curlybill (the Wild Idea Buffalo – Dan O’Brien and company) @troutscout (who works in conservation policy in DC) and a bunch of hunter types in the Sacramento area. (@sportingdays for instance)

    So I’ve “met” tons of parrot people, DU supporters, conservation folks as well as the local Twitter folks I’ve met in person. It’s networking at its finest. It’s hard to over stay your welcome when you are engaging 140 characters at a time.

    Here’s a great article
    http://snipr.com/cnu8t

    More than I meant to say, but I hope that helps…

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