One year of sustainability theory dharma

This week marks the one year anniversary of sustainability theory dharma or just ‘std’. I must admit I had my doubts over the course of the year that this blog would last this long. But it has. And I have learned much about myself, blogging and the environment from maintaining std.

This year I will aim for one “column” per week. I experimented with various posting styles last year. At times I had strayed from the environment topic and found that this was not what I had wanted for the blog (but others thought it was great). At other times my posts were short and pithy, making them cryptic and zen-like. In trying to keep up with the Joneses I had forgotten that I had a family, university and part-time work, that I am not the average Joe Blow with time on my hands.

So instead of posting often my goal is for one better-than-average post of about 1,000 words focusing on one current environmental event. The aim is to raise the standard of my writing which had wandered off at one point. My goal is to keep the act of blogging simple and without distractions. std itself has gone through some evolution. I will describe some of the changes that have happened here.

a slow start
A year ago I was still working. As a full-time English teacher the environment had not been a priority, but a personal issue. My concerns for the environment were not mine alone as a number of great blogs on environmental issues had also sprang up (It’s the Environment, Stupid, Oikos and Stolen Moments to name just three) around this time. My want of knowing how I could live sustainably and to share this knowledge with others was the impetus for starting std.

And now, as my sidebar says, I am back at university studying about the relationship between language and the environment. One year ago I did not know I would be doing this. I have this blog to thank.

what’s in a name?
For those who have been around here long enough you will also recall the name change. It started life out as ‘sustainability dharma blog’. I had wanted to use the word ‘blog’ in it as a reminder that it is not a commercial enterprise. It was a dig at those environmental blogs that put advertisement on their page, a hideous practice to say the least.

Advertisement only hurts the environment. You (yes! you! Mr Sustainablog) are sending out the wrong message to your readers about consumerism, that selling more is okay. And I am still against that. So I may start a campaign to rid commercialism from environmental blogs. It’s simply wrong.

Coming back to the name, I had wanted to show how theory, Buddhism and sustainability can be about the same thing. And hence the name. But a year later I have shifted my focus to only sustainability because it is simply too much to consider, which brings me to the next section.

jack of all trades…
That was me – the master of none. As the years roll on in my life I have learned that I must focus. It is nice to learn and know a lot of things, but not being great at any of them is a real pity. To use another cliche, life is too short. My advice is this: have one blog and focus on a topic. There are too many people out there who own several blogs about different topics. That’s fine… if you have that much time on your hands. Or else there are blogs that write about everything and anything. I may want to read about how you fixed a bug on some software but I don’t want to know the colour of your latest pair of underwear. In short, one blog one topic. If you cannot blog for more than one year on one topic do not blog at all. You are only wasting your time (and mine) and energy (the environment’s).

This may seem harsh criticism but it is for the environment that I say this. The soaring energy use is partly due to maintaining a network like the internet. As wonderful as it is for useful information it is also a doorway to some of the most useless drivel too. Consider what you write and post and upload for the sake of the environment.

what is the calendar for?
If you are like me it is to highlight how infrequently one blogs. So get rid of it if you are an occasional poster.

ranking mayhem
And don’t feel you have to post something everyday either. You don’t. It is the blogging system that is telling you have to. Search engines like Technorati reward those who post more often with better ranks. It is a scam. But it also gives better ranks for more established blogs which is why it is important to stay with one blog rather than moving around. Regularly updated blogs – whether once a day or once a week – seems to fair well. If you stay around long enough the bulk of your readers will come from other sources anyway.

Keep It Simple Silly
Ahh… the KISS rule. No better rule in life and blog. I used to do a “keep the readers updated” post once a month. What a waste of time. It’s cute. It was cute. But seriously your readers are here to read about one thing and not about your blog goings-on. They don’t care, even if you do. So keep it to yourself or save it for a once a year post on anniversaries like today. You don’t need other pages to supplement the blog either. Your personality will come through from your writing. I learned that the hard way.

the coming year
One of the things that I started with a year ago was the notion of strong sustainability. I still maintain this and would like to elaborate more on this coming year. Another topic which I haven’t covered much but would like to is money, and how it works against the environment. This goes against many of the blogs and ideas out there. But I think it is an issue which needs to be addressed. And of course my interest in overpopulation or rather population control (thanks John Feeney) is still there and would be something I would like to explore also.

9 thoughts on “One year of sustainability theory dharma

  1. John Feeney

    Heh, I can relate to a number of things you say, especially concerning the time issue. I had a previous blog for something less than a year which, for some reason, didn’t seem to be difficult to keep updated with new material. (slightly different subject matter, I guess) With my current blog I find it tough to try to crank out decent posts as often as it seems I should. And I actually have time to do it! My situation allows me to focus a lot on the blog right now. But, especially with posts that take some research, it can take a long time to produce something I’m satisfied with. I’m working on something right now that has required days of off and on research, and as one source leads to another, and the topic becomes more complex, I’ve had to decide that if I want to get anything new posted before a month from now, I’ll just have to post some preliminary stuff and let readers know more will come later. :-/ I think the advice you sometimes see to “make sure you post new content at least every three days,” or whatever, is fine for those blogging about what they had for dinner or just posting snips of news items with a line or two of commentary. But for anything more substantive, well, you said it above.

    Sounds like you’ve done a good job of stepping back and assessing what your doing with std, which is a lot more than most bloggers do, I think. Most probably just blog and if they find it creates problems in their lives, just quit or watch their lives be impacted by their blogging. I think you’ve put yourself on a much better path for success with std by taking time to reflect, and making adjustments. I hope I’ll be doing the same thing from time to time.

    Congrats on the one year mark!

    Reply
  2. signature103 Post author

    Thanks for the vote of confidence.

    Looking forward to whatever you put out, however infrequent of frequent they may be. In the end, it’s the quality that counts.

    Reply
  3. elitrope

    Congrats on the one year anniversary! I can relate. I’ve also learned a lot about myself from blogging and have encountered the dillema of wanting to stay on the topic of sustainability, but wandering off to other areas that seemed important at the time. To attempt to resolve that issue, started another blog, as you know, and so on and so forth…what you said. I like the goal you’ve set for yourself and look forward to reading those 1,000 word essays, including ones about currency, as I’ve recently been intrigued by this notion of communities having their own currency. I would like to hear more about your studies as well.

    Reply
  4. signature103 Post author

    Thanks, elitrope.

    As I said, if you have the time and energy, then two blogs seem better for two areas.

    I thinking you misread my writing on money. It isn’t about community currency but money and how it affects our attitudes towards the environment, particularly consumption.

    Thanks for the encouragement. Hope I can keep it up.

    Reply
  5. elitrope

    I gotcha on the money thing. I think I was just weaving my own interests in there. I believe the ideas must be related because communities that have opted for an alternative currency based on barter and trade, must somehow feel the current currency has failed us OR doesn’t take into consideration environmental values. It would be interesting to see if these alternative currencies eventually fall victims to the same pitfalls of current. Anyhow, I’m getting way ahead of myself and I’ll just stop here to read more about your thoughts on the matter of which you mentioned.

    Reply
  6. signature103 Post author

    I would like to hear more about this alternative currency concept, how it has worked and what problems they have come up against.

    While my own thoughts are a criticism of money, it falls in line with what you mentioned. I am making a link with trade and barter also, thinking of something on the smaller scale, moving away from international and global scope back to local and individual level.

    Reply
  7. Suhit Anantula

    Hi:

    I found your blog through Google Alerts. I think you have an interesting combination of combinining sustainability and buddhism.

    I write about sustainability and business (www.worldisgreen.com) and based in Australia. I can understand your ideas. I think “focus” is the important part. I am struggling a bit on that area but as my understanding improves I am going to get better.

    I was trying to find more about you. Looks like you seem to be from Australia. Anyways, it would be good to connect to you and keep in touch.

    Is there a e-mail address where I can mail you.

    Cheers,
    Suhit

    Reply

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