January launched many new beginnings for our country. One I want to highlight today is the launch of the Mother Nature Network (www.mnn.com), a website created by marketing guru and veteran Joel Babbit, and tree farmer and music industry legend Chuck Leavell (keyboardist for the Rolling Stones).
But it’s more than just a Web site. MNN has received significant press so far and I don’t want to simply repeat what’s already been said, but rather begin to talk about the importance of this site as a strong way for us all to story-tell as we message about change to new audiences. For years now, I have been waiting for an online source like MNN.
Babbit and his team set out to create the very online tool and community we need to further advance information and knowledge sharing about our current retooling of our world. It’s a true best of breed for the new media audience. In the same week where I learned Plenty and Domino Magazines have shuttered their traditional print publications, we have to ask: is this a trend? Will online magazines and media replace the old school format? Indeed, I believe we all know that the answer to both questions are "yes." Will this create an influx of online clutter? Probably.
What MNN does is take all of the online resources out there and present them in a very reader friendly/ engaging new media or web2.0 experiential format with videos, blogs, advice columns and more. As Babbit says, there was no one place to gather information on the green movement like WebMD was for Medical information when it first emerged. MNN is like the USA Today of Sustainability.
My interest in having a site like this goes back a ways. Several years ago, I stumbled upon a GREAT site by Daryl Hannah called Daryl Hannah Love Life (www.dhlovelife.com). This site houses web broadcasts capturing Daryl’s messages about various environmental-related scenarios, from bio-diesel to an organic mushroom farm to Richard Branson’s Necker Island. Not long after, I stumbled upon another terrific site, Treehugger.com, an exhaustive resource for green design, sustainability and other environmental information. It’s great in many ways and certainly the best information source that existed, until MNN was launched three weeks ago. I’ve met the Treehugger founder, Graham Hill, and admire his foresight with getting his vision online in this way (and for getting bought by theDiscovery Channel).
But the best of breed is truly MNN (thank you, by the way, for not calling it GREEN something-or-other…). I have had the privilege of meeting with Joel Babbit and his team to learn about their plans for this site. With weekly advice from filmmaker, activist and organic gardener, Vanessa Vadim, an upcoming partnership with Captain Planet (if you have read my previous blogs, you KNOW what I fan I am), a cast of dozens reporting on all aspects of the movement (from Daron Joffe, Richard Branson’s organic farmer, to Josh Dorfman, the Lazy Environmentalist), plus even more exciting news Joel has yet to share, this site is sure to take us all by storm. And what perfect timing with a new administration that promises more programming for the media world on sustainability. We need to talk, we need to share and we most certainly need to highlight the many ways people are getting on board and making change in this world to save our planet and re-tool our companies in the process.
Heck, they even have a farmer video blogging. Now that’s cool! I’ve been saying that the organic farmer is the new rock star.