Sunday, January 28, 2007

Social Networking & Content Management Systems

Open source and collaborative content management systems (CMS) have become powerful social networking and community networking tools. The user interactivity can include forums, blogs, multimedia, photo galleries and many other functions. Wikipedia provides a Comparison of many Content Management Systems.

Two of the most popular CMS applications are Drupal and Joomla. From my research today, it appears that Drupal has recently been updated to version 5.0, a major revision that appears to make it more usable for many purposes at this time. CMS Matrix provides high ratings for Drupal. The Joomla Developer Network Roadmap page has announced that they are working on a new 1.5 version that will contain advanced usability features. In the near future we may experiment with Drupal. Note that creating open source Wiki modules for Drupal is also under development

As noted earlier in the blog, the interactive web sites we are developing contain "Network Centers" inviting web users to become involved in many aspects of the web site project. Three example web site projects are provided here:
River Menders - Native Riparian Habitat Restoration for Salmon Recovery
Jamaica Protected Areas Trust - Jamaica Conservation and Protected Area Movement
Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign - Pulling Together Against Invasive Weeds

Topics in which users can participate include discussions, events, volunteer opportunities, educational activities, monitoring, public input, and reference materials.

I will write more about CMS developments as time permits.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Al Gore - Positive Idaho News

Kudos to the Idaho Statesman for their positive editorial today on Al Gore's speech and a "Call to action." Hopefully this will simulate more local citizens to become more actively involved in personal and local organizational efforts to control pollution causing Global warming. I am considering trying to start a Wiki group to help share project ideas and efforts that already exist and to stimulate ideas for new projects. I will write more about this as time permits. Comments are welcome!

On January 23, the morning after Al Gores speech in Boise this week The Idaho Statesman published an article by Anne Wallace Allen titled "Gore charms, daunts crowd of 10,000 at Taco Bell Arena." Even though the article accurately reported that the crowd was cheerful and raucus, I wondered about the word "daunt" in the title, a few paragraphs about a "half dozen" protesters and a final negative sentence from one student, leaving the speech halfway through, that "He's not a scientist; he's a politician."

I looked at the online version of the paper today to see if anyone was commenting about this first, article and the slight impression of despair and pessimism I felt was implied by the earlier Anne Wallace Allan article. I did not find any public comments yet, but was encouraged to see the Idaho Statesman has written a new and very interesting Opinion > Editorial titled, "Our View: This is the time for action on warming."

The new statesman opinion does not apply the term "daunt" (discourage) to Al Gore, but did apply the words "denial and despair" to our politicians and those people who are convinced that we do not need to change our behavior - "in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence" that global warming caused by human activities is real. This opinion states a much more positive review of Al Gores speech quoted below:

This is no time for denial or despair. It's a time for action. If it originates at the local or state level, so be it. In a 105-minute speech on global warming Monday night, former Vice President Al Gore took on the skeptics and the doomsayers — and challenged Idahoans to lobby on behalf of the planet they'll pass on to their children.

The opinion article also noted that Gore argues effectively that "Idaho is not immune." "Climate change contributes to disease and wildfire in the forests. Global warming could bring drier summers and lower streamflows — while early snowmelt and spring storms provide a recipe for flooding. On top of that, he says, Idaho soil could lose up to 30 percent of its moisture, essential to growing." The article also notes that Gore gave examples of companies, cities (including Boise), and the global community that is already creating examples by making contributions. The article continues with the following comments that I quote.

"As Gore aptly puts it, political will is a renewable resource. Boise's political will poses a model to other Treasure Valley cities, and to state leaders."

"A Republican Legislature and a Republican governor may be tempted to scoff at the Democrat Gore's challenge to tackle global warming. But they should not dismiss Boise City Hall's commitment."

"And they would be foolish to ignore a sellout crowd of 10,000, engaged enough to pack a basketball arena on a Monday night to hear a presentation on global warming. It was the largest audience to hear Gore's presentation in one sitting, said Garry Wenske, executive director of Boise State University's Frank Church Institute, which sponsored the speech."

As I am about to post this I also read another interesting online story in the "New West" - The Voice of the Rocky Mountains. Dated 1-22-07 and written by Jennifer Gelband the article is titled "Gore Speaks; Now's Your Chance to Respond." Several comments are available.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Standing Ovations for Al Gore and Bethine Church

Former Vice President, Al Gore received several standing ovations in Boise, Idaho last night at the 2007 Frank Church Institute Conference on Public Affairs. Bethine Church also received standing ovations as she introduced Gore and noted that their families had been close friends for many years. For me and many of the "age 50+ crowd" it was a heartwarming and stimulating remembrance of the environmental movement in action 36 years ago.

As early as 1970, at the first Earth Day Idaho's Senator Frank Church warned of the "Green-House effect" and the melting of the polar ice caps. Al Gore has been publicly involved in trying to promote citizen and congressional attention to this issue since the early 1980's.

Gore encouraged a full house of 10,000 enthusiastic people to do everything possible to affect changes in attitudes and behavior related to the negative changes taking place all over the world because of human related "Global Warming" activities. The Keynote presentation was powerful and parts were tailored to an Idaho audience. It was also similar to the recently Academy Award nominated movie "An Inconvenient Truth," that has become one of the best documentary feature films of our times and has been viewed by many millions of people worldwide.

This huge issue and the many subtopics involved illustrates the growing need for Social Networking communication projects I have advocated on this Blog. If all of the 10,000 people who listened to Al Gore last night were to redouble their efforts to be actively involved locally, regionally, nationally and globally I feel it would make a difference. Add the millions of people around the world who have also seen the slide show or the movie and this would be a powerful force to dramatically affect changes in the political will needed to effect changes in Global Warming trends.

I will look for Social Networking Internet opportunities on this issue and report them in this blog as time permits. A few web sites that encourage education and participation include;,, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Wikipedia (lots of information and references) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has changed its web page title from Global Warming to Climate Change and also provides interesting information and sections on "What you can do".

Al Gore's active and highly visible involvement in the late 1980's and 90's promoting public computer networks, the Information Highway and the Internet should also be noted in this context. A good condensed source of information about Al Gore's life and work is found on Wikipedia.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

David Korten - The Great Turning

In Boise, Idaho January 19, I attended David Korten's talk describing the concepts and ideas presented in his recent book titled, "The Great Turning : From Empire to Earth Community."

I had a chance to talk to Korten briefly and acknowledged that Social Networking and new Internet and communication technologies can help citizens coordinate options for better personal and community choices in the future as people learn how to use tools like Wikis, for example.

It was an eloquent speech accompanied by a very good multimedia slide show with powerful graphic images and charts. A link to a You Tube video produced at the 2006 Green Festival in San Francisco is here.

Advocating a powerful message that "We are the ones we've been waiting for"... Korten believes humans have higher capacities for "compassion, cooperation, responsible self-direction and self-organizing partnerships" than we have been practicing for the past 5000 years. He blames the contemporary manifestation of "Empire" for being "increasingly destructive of children, family, community, and nature, and is leading to environmental and social collapse."

As I have been writing in this Blog, I am certain that Social networking tools will aid people in their efforts to "turn" society in more positive directions. To this end David Korten and his associates produce "Yes Magazine" A Journal of Positive Futures, which is also available as a web site with "Online Only Features." The magazine contains success stories from around the world, a section on What's New, upcoming events and suggested readings. They also promote "The Earth Charter Initiative" and "Earth Community Dialogues."

As an added note I found An interesting critique of Korten's books, including "The Great Turning," in "The Radical Middle Newsletter" Mark Satin, Editor. The August 1, 2006 article is titled, "What can we learn from the antiglobalists?"

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Doomsday Clock - Wake up Call

I have lived with the "Doomsday Clock" and the threat of nuclear conflagration most of my life. Now cosmologist Stephen Hawking has noted that climate change stands alongside nuclear weapons as one of the greatest threat to the future of the world. A January 18, 2007 article in "The Independent" by Science Editor Steve Connor is titled, "Hawking warns: We must recognise the catastrophic dangers of climate change."

A "Wake Up" call has been issued by so many people, for so many years, about these issues that it is hard for me to comprehend why global citizens are not much more vocal and active in attempts to turn back the Doomsday Clock. As noted in posts in this blog I believe Social Networking applications being developed on the Internet will provide new ways for people to "Wake Up" and become much more involved in local, regional, national and global ecosystem issues.

Instead, in the article Connor notes that Hawking "was speaking at the Royal Society in London yesterday at a conference organised by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists which has decided to move the minute hand of its "Doomsday Clock" forward to five minutes to midnight to reflect the increased dangers faced by the world.

While exploring the links for this post I found an interesting question Stephan Hawking had asked on Yahoo Answers. Over 25,000 responses were recorded with one being chosen as a best answer to his question: How can the human race survive the next hundred years?

This is an example of a type of dialogue that is beginning to develop in the Internet that we should encourage and participate in.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Boosting Social Environmental Networking in Idaho

Al Gore and David C. Korten:

This month these two important speakers will be in Boise, Idaho and large crowds are expected to listen to their arguments for citizens to become more involved in public environmental affairs. Social networking tools I have been writing about here can dramatically increase these opportunities if we learn how to use them more effectively. I suggest that public discussion and action groups could form after these two influential speakers leave Boise. This effort could tie in with the topics presented at the Idaho Environmental Summit in December would be a good starting point. On this Blog I wrote about these possibilities on November 29 and December 12, 2006.

Former Vice President, Al Gore will be the keynote speaker at the Frank Church Institute Conference on Public Affairs in Boise, Idaho January 22, 2007. The conference is titled "Global Warming: Beyond the Inconvenient Truth" and will be held at Boise State University. Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" has become an outreach effort to mobilize local citizens to fight global warming.

Also well known as a person who popularized the term "information superhighway" in the early 1990's, Al Gore was the keynote speaker at the 1992 Frank Church Conference, where "Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit" his newly released book at the time was the theme.

On January 19, David C. Korten will be speaking about his new book "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community." Sponsored by the Boise Unitarian Fellowship and many co-sponsor groups, the book and lecture are part of a plan "to advance Earth Community Dialogues aimed at changing the conversation about our local, national and global possibilities."

Both of these men have already been promoting the development of local civic action groups during their lectures and on their web sites. I am interested in identifying groups that do actually form and how they communicate using the Internet. Anyone else reading this Blog is welcome to participate in this effort.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Net Neutrality Revisited 2007

On this Blog I wrote about Congressional action related to Net Neutrality on September 5 and again on November 9, right after the 2006 election. New information is now becoming available about an expected push for the new Congress to resume efforts to reintroduce bills related to preserving Net Neutrality.

A January 2, 2007, article by Ann Broache, CNET explains that Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., plans to reintroduce his bill from last year titled the Network Neutrality Act. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., hopes to reintroduce his Net Neutrality Bill, and Sen. Olympia Snow, R-Maine, and Sen Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., plan to introduce the Internet Freedom Preservation Act.

On December 29, 2006, Marguerite Reardon, CNET wrote that AT&T one of the major corporations that has been lobbying against Net Neutrality, agreed to pledge to abide by a series of antidiscrimination principles supported by Net Neutrality supporters for a two year period. This decision provided the incentive for the Federal Communications Commission to approve the $86 Billion megamerger between AT&T and BellSouth.