What role has on-line media played with the growth of the renewable energy sector in the past ten to twenty years? That is a question that really has not been up for discussion within the renewable energy community.
However, it does merit some discussion. Afterall, commentators are saying that we are in the midst of quite a change in mass communications. No longer in the days of the World Wide Web do we get our information from just ten television channels and local radio stations. Rather there is the five hundred channel universe, web 2.0, smart phones, and tablets are bombarding our senses with information.
Despite all those concerns of information overload, the Internet is at least providing an outlet for other voices that normally would get shut out.
For newer industries like renewable industry that need to grow all important market share to increase their products, it provides a means of an efficient communication strategy that would have been more difficult in a ten channel universe or newspaper era.
I won’t go into too much into detail, but you can thank a lot of the renewable energy revolution’s backbone from the information technology revolution that happened in the mid to late 1990’s to early 2000’s.
However, I think it was the power of Web 2.0, when it really started to take off in around early to mid 2000’s we saw a new breed of on-line media take off. Blogs, thanks to Blogger, WordPress, along with podcasts have allowed the average citizen to get involved in media. That has been important in the spread of the discussion of renewable energy’s role within society.
Case in point, in the early 2000’s, as the Internet and the World Wide Web were in their infancy, there were very few websites you could find decent commentary or news related to clean technology. After all, both were fairly young infant industries.
Yet, as we moved further along into the first decade of the 21st century, good quality on-line media was being devoted to the subject. From podcast radio shows, to documentaries, and on-line publications, the ante of the quality of news within the renewable energy industry has increased, as the industry as grown.
Websites, including EarthTechling, Cleantechnica, and Renewable Energy World provide superb content on a daily basis for those who want to know how alternative energy affects the nexus of economics, markets, politics, globalization and environmental issues on a daily basis. I consider these the MSNBC’s CNN‘s and CNBC‘s of the renewable energy world. You can thank the Internet for that.
Heck, even Bloomberg’s website a mainstream business source for news, added a sustainability part of their site thanks to the increasing appetite for sustainable development issues amongst business people. Bloomberg types are not your stereotypical granola munching hippie types, either, folks.
In the future, when we look back at media, and energy, in the early 21st century, there is a good chance that likely, we will say, that without on-line media’s presence of blogs, on-line video and podcasts, who knows how much this sector would have grown.
Perhaps maybe this paragraph from a recent Corporate Knights article sums it up best of where the interlinking between alternative energy and the World Wide Web are headed:
“Thanks to the web, citizens in every location of the globe are connecting and contributing, strand by strand, to what is in essence a mesh of surveillance around the planet, constantly taking the pulse of nature and making note of the pressures we place on it. “It’s really the web and Internet infrastructure that’s allowing the scaling up of all of this,” said Jeff Seifert, chief technology officer at Cisco Canada. Cisco and NASA are working together on a non-profit initiative, called the Planetary Skin Institute, that’s aiming to make sense of – and help decision-makers act on – this massive (and growing) wave of data.
And here’s the thing: you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. As Berners-Lee likes to say, “Most of the history of the web is still ahead of us.” “