Sustainable blogging?

Is it possible to blog on indefinitely, sustainably? This question has bothered me for some time, because it is something I have had to face myself.

A fellow blogger who had started around the same time I started this blog has called it quits, at least in the non-profit form. He has decided to concentrate on freelance writing to which he has my full support. If one’s writing is good enough for it to be paid work – if there is a readership that can turned into a livelihood – then go for it.

How sustainable is blogging, especially the kind we do – topic-based blogging? There are four important qualities, I think, which is necessary for a (niche) blog to work.

Undoubtedly the most important quality. Without thorough knowledge of the topic it is near impossible to sustain the writing. But this is only true if you are writing as a pundit. If you are writing from the point of view that of a novice and your personal experience so far then it will work. Then this type of blog is more akin to a journal blog – a record of your journey towards the goal of this knowledge.

Without time to blog then no blog will survive. As a father, a full-time postgraduate student, a teacher and a blogger twenty-four hours is simply not enough. Something has to give. And I don’t think it is fatherhood, research, or my vocation. If you placed blogging up at the top then seriously something must be very wrong with your relationships or priorities.

Spirit of charity
Blogging – especially niche blogging – is truly close to charity… that is unless you have signed up for Adsense. But by and large bloggers have more sense than adsense (except if you are that good then you can cut a living from blogging). Most of us are just satisfied to share with other what we know and make new friends.

Sense of fun and enjoyment
Blogging has to be fun. Otherwise it will feel like a chore.


Of the four qualities I have three – familiarity, spirit of charity and a sense of enjoyment. Time is something which is hampering me here. While I do apologise to my readers sometimes for the lack of postings but I think they understand. But also these days my blog is generally supported by new readers rather than regulars. I think people all move on after a while.

Coming back to my friend and his blog I am not saying he lacks charity. His case is different because now he is choosing a professional path. And for that I cheer him on. To me, blogging is only sustainable if there are these qualities. Otherwise there is no inclination to write.

Protest against blog advertising

“What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.” Vilhjahmur Stefansson (1879-1962)

Like so many other blogs I don’t have advertisement for a reason – I despise them. To sign up for AdSense (ad cents) is to perpetuate advertising pollution. But to refuse is not enough. No news, here, is good news for advertisers, because it makes it seem like there is no resistance out there. It is as if we are indifferent to ads when we are not.

Ads are a waste of resources. They use up unnecessary bandwidth. They add to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. That is why as a sustainability supporter we need to make a choice and raise our voice.

So in that sense we need to “advertise” the fact that we are resisting. And that is why I made this badge, a badge to show resistance to greed.

no adsense
So if you are inclined to protest with me please:

  1. copy the above badge and place it in the sidebar of your blog,
  2. link and/or backtrack to this post so that this may become a kind of “blog petition” to show our resistance to advertising and advertisers,
  3. Spread the word so that others may also join in the blog protest.

My goal here is 103 signatures.

Two years of (un)sustainability

It’s Sunday morning. It’s four Celsius below freezing point. The kids are asleep. I have pulled the laptop out to sit in my un-preheated lounge room to write this without any preparation or thought.

Sustainability Dharma is two years old. But what should I write about? What is there to write about?

Over the past year I have occasionally (very occasionally) looked at some older posts. There were some good writing in there, especially early on. There was passion, content and substance in it. They were proofread. They had been researched, not thoroughly but at least I had spent time on them. But these days I have to sit and rush my writing in between life. I have neither time to view or comment on the blogs of fellow writers nor time to keep up with the sustainability news. So should I be blogging at all?

Should a father of two young attention-heavy children, who is driving (unsustainably) to a university 60km (40 miles) away from home almost everyday to do a Masters thesis, and does part-time teaching at night three times a week, be blogging? I don’t think so.

But I will continue. I will write because I think it is important. I will write because I share with others a desire to make the world a better place. I will write because I think I have something valuable to say.

While I am still very busy I do not see this situation to continue. I am in my final semester, writing up my thesis, and my youngest goes to daycare in a couple of months. And holding on to my newly acquired degree I will be looking for work again, hopefully at a higher institution. By then my kids will have grown out of their “terrible-twos” period.

But will things really improve as I imagine them to? I have come to understand that things never progress the way you think they will (like me being married, having two kids and doing my Masters). Life has more twists and turns than any labyrinth. What is installed for Sustainability Dharma for the next year, I cannot imagine. All I know is I still have a passion for writing about sustainability.