Since 1995, John Carsonhas worked as a journalist, magazine editor, web producer, communications/PR manager and social media consultant. He founded a niche travel website in 1997, is a published authorand co-founder of Greenscroll.org, a green, non-profit launched in July 2009 to help power the Internet with green energy. He currently does online communications at an independent school in Toronto. We recently featured John in 5 Questions.
Today, to help celebrate Earth Day, we join John to talk about his non-profit, Greenscroll:
What is Greenscroll.org?
Greenscroll is a Toronto-based, green non-profit that is helping to “green the web” — that is, encouraging our supporters and partners to invest in green energy projects, such as solar energy and wind farms, that can be used to power the Internet. We want to make it sustainable, and not reliant on fossil fuels, or “brown” energy.
How did you become involved in Greenscroll and how did it get started?
I was networking at an Interactive Ontario event in October 2008, and got chatting to Sasha Baksht (firstly about soccer!) and then about the environment and tech. He must have remembered that conversation, because in early 2009 he and fellow techie Nikolai Bratkovski invited me to help get Greenscroll off the ground as their Communications Scroller. As journalism and PR was in my background, it seemed like an interesting chance to use my experience to make a difference and put some good karma back onto the web. We have since been joined by two great volunteers — Heather and Yakov — and together, are having fun and building the organization. It’s important to stress (for those who have accused us of scamming people) that we are all non-paid volunteers who have day jobs. We manage Greenscroll in our spare time, via e-mails, virtual networking, Skype, social media and various random meetings in local coffee shops!
How simple is it for companies to become involved? How about individuals? Can independent bloggers help out too?
It is VERY EASY for companies, individuals, bloggers — in fact, anyone who has a web presence or cares about the amount of wasted energy used to power the web — to get involved. Greenscroll asks for pledges; depending on your page views, you commit to donating from $5 to $100 per month. Once we have a decent amount saved, we invest in Renewable Energy Certificates (via our partner CarbonFund.org) and that helps to fund various green energy projects. We have a counter on the Greenscroll home page that counts, in real time, how many page views our supporters have greened. We are currently tweaking the site to show the serial numbers of those RECs … again, in the interests of full transparency. In fact — that is our watchword. You can see who we are, what we are doing … so feel free to contact us via Twitter (@greenscroll) or e-mail if you have questions or comments. We welcome feedback, suggestions and critique from the community.
Why is it important for the tech community and the social media community to be aware of green issues?
It is very important for the tech community to be aware of the damage that brown energy is doing to the planet, via global warming, and other ways. Usage of the web is only going to increase — that energy is not going to last forever. All we ask is that people put a little back into what they are taking out. It is great to have the social community on our side, because we feel very comfortable in that space, and enjoy the instant interaction we have with our supporters, potential partners and the “green scene” … in Toronto, and across the planet!