Being on the wrong side of 70 and somewhat of an IT dinosaur it has taken me some time to come to terms with the words ‘blog’ and ‘blogger’. Quite simply a blog is a piece of online journalism, possibly opinion, but hopefully factually based. A blogger requires a platform on which to publish his or her blog – a website. Two years ago I had no ambition to be a blogger or have a platform on which to blog. I was a promoter of the existential threat of climate change via elections, the letters columns of local papers and an emailed newsletter. Then I received a wonderful gift from my Canadian relatives – a website and a twitter page (more on this at a later date). Even with the platform the blog was still some time coming.
Previously I had been writing longer essays and a couple of them made it to the publications page of this site (mainly history) before the blog came into being. After some ‘googling’ (sorry!) I worked out a rough formula on which the blog was to be based. The main purpose of the blog was (and is) to relate climate change to local issues and aspects of it in Gippsland, to see possible threats and offer possible solutions with an occasional opinion piece. It was to be short with a maximum of 500 words per blog, illustrated, evidence based but hopefully understandable by ‘Joe Blow’ in the street. It was to be regularly posted – twice a week if possible. My style has been to make it personal, a bit folksy, local and now and then angry. It was to have good news and bad and the occasional guest bloggers.
Over the last year there have been a number of guest Gippsland bloggers outlining various problems, solutions and opinions. The pressure group Gippsland2020 has provided the bulk of my guest bloggers including Dan Caffrey of Traralgon on pumped hydro, Lorraine Bull of Morwell on the just transition in the Latrobe Valley, Dr Jo McCubbin of Sale on climate health matters and Tracey Anton of Toongabie on the recent visit by John Hewson. Other bloggers include Jill Redwood of Goongerah and Deb Foskey of Bonang on forestry matters, Deb Carruthers of Paynesville and Marg Thomas of Mirboo North on coal seam gas, and Alan Broughton of Bairnsdale on the methane emissions of cattle.
The blog has been regularly posted twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays for the last 15 months varying in number from 7 to 9 per month. It currently has somewhere between 100 and 120 regular viewers with peak visits of 60 to 70 at the end of the month and approximately 150 viewers in total. At times it can be a bit of a strain writing this as when I am also running for public office. To keep the standards up it would be nice to have one or two more guest bloggers.