A great example of Fifth Estate civic engagement is the rise of Green Moms Carnival. Comprised of self-organized green Mom bloggers, these family leaders gathered together to blog on selected universal topics to highlight the important role mothers play in the environmental movement. These carnivals of blog posts were slated for once or twice a month, and continue today.
Ironically, it was a snub that caused the moms to self-organize. “When we launched in August, 2008, the important role of mothers in the environmental movement was largely overlooked,” said Founder Lynn Miller. “In fact, it was the complete exclusion of ‘Green Mom’ bloggers from the green page on Guy Kawasaki’s new Alltop site that led me to reach out to all of the top green Mom bloggers in order to submit them to Alltop for consideration.”
Through Green Moms blog carnivals focused on a common topic of environmental concern, the moms sought to create online environmental activism. Further, they wanted raise awareness of broader environmental issues beyond each blogger’s narrow area of expertise.
To start, the Green Moms Carnival would select a topic. One mom would then unify and summarize the posts on one macro “carnival” page. They would use a group Twitter account with feeds of the posts, FaceBook, and a private email list serve.
For example, bloggers who typically wrote about conventional “green parenting” topics such as non-toxic toys, organic food, green décor or gardening wrote their very first blog posts about climate change due to the Green Moms Carnival. This increased environmental issue awareness, not just for the readers, but also for critical influencers. In one case, Lynn Miller said that none of the moms would have blogged about coal were it not for the influence of a member who lives in Coal Country.
The Green Moms Carnivals have reached millions of people and have spawned thousands of comments. The efforts were notable anough that the Green Moms were named among “the most extraordinary women of 2009” by See Jane Do.
Influence spread to larger environmental NGOs who started using the carnival postings as content for fund raising and action alerts to their membership. Organizations that used the content included Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families; Healthy Child, Healthy World; The Environmental Working Group; Breast Cancer Fund; Women’s Voices for the Earth; and The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
When the effort was launched in August, 2008, the important role of mothers in the environmental movement was largely overlooked. Today, the influential role of “”Ecomoms”” and “”Green Moms”” is substantial. They have participated in the filming of documentaries on these subjects, attended events on Capitol Hill in support of legislation, and had our blog posts re-posted on NGO websites. This attention may have happened anyway, given the convergence of the “green movement” and “Digital Moms,” but at the forefront has been the Green Moms Carnival, a force in raising awareness and moving hearts and minds towards eco-awareness.
“We have had employees of large multinationals approach us and thank us for our work, telling us that our demands for safer, greener, cleaner products makes it easier for them to get new innovations approved within their companies,” said Lynn Miller. “We’ve also had CEOs tell us that ours are the voices that are being listened to – that we are an important force for change. It would have been very easy to ‘sell out’ to commercial interests or even non-profit interests given all the interest in the ‘Mom space,’ but our stature as an independent alliance of top green bloggers enhances our credibility, our authenticity, and the uniqueness of our point of view.”