Cool Green Science: The Best of 2009


Cool Green Science went live on January 12, 2009. Our expectations were modest, to say the least. The Nature Conservancy had never had an official blog before, and we prayed we could somehow scrape together three posts a week. We had several things going against us:

  • Exactly two contributors — out of 15 initial ones — who had blogged previously;
  • A supersaturated field of “green blog” competition (it is 2009, after all);
  • An organizational culture wary of public debate, criticism and dissent — the things a blog thrives on.

But we had a couple things going for us, too: Support at the organization’s highest levels, and a small band of smart, hungry writers. Writers who do some of the fascinating work The Nature Conservancy does all over the world — but who also stop to think about that world, a lot. And who took the risk of writing exactly what was on their minds, and could actually be entertaining and engaging in the process.

680 posts, 1,400 comments, and nearly 150,000 visitors after that launch in January, Cool Green Science has become one of the preeminent conservation blogs on Planet Earth. It’s the home of some fantastic conservation writing. And it’s also now a trusted source of green news for its 1,000 subscribers and tens of thousands more through our Twitter stream.

As the blog’s editor-in-chief, I’ve read each of those 680 posts — from encounters with sharks and orangutans to advice on how to bicycle to work to the guilt of an invasive species specialist who plants an invasive species in his own backyard. Not everything here is wonderful — but I am consistently surprised and delighted by how good it often is. I shouldn’t be — it is The Nature Conservancy, after all.

We have plans for an even better 2010 — more reactions to breaking science, more green media coverage, more chances for you to interact with us. Until the New Year gets here, though, take a couple minutes to look at some of my top 10 favorite posts from our first year in business. And then use our comments feature to tell us how you think we’re doing…and how we can improve.

Cool Green Science: Top 10 Posts of 2009

David Cleary: Pristine Myths, Noble Savages and Conservation

Dave Connell: How to Tech Responsibly

Eddie Game: Hitting the Target…But Missing the Point

Rebecca Goldman: Still More ‘Evidence’ That Scientists Need to Stop Talking in Science-Speak

Peter Kareiva: Children and their Carbon Legacy: A Way to be an Eco-Hero?

Erik Meijaard: Bike Preferences Among Indonesian Primates

Matt Miller: It’s Time for Environmentalists to Stop Crying Wolf

Barry Rice: Forgive Me Mother Nature, For I Have Sinned

Sanjayan: 10 Fashion Tips for Hip Conservationists

Margaret Southern: Are Organic Foods Really About Better Nutrition?

If you believe in the work we’re doing, please lend a hand.


  1. Congratulations on a great first year, Robert, et al. Cool Green Science has quickly taken its seat as one of the best overall sources for science-based environmental news and opinion on the web and perhaps THE best place for conservation-focused writing.

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

    1. Much appreciated, Tim. Ecopolitology has been a great resource for us as well, and we look forward to working with you even more in 2010.

  2. Congrats! I have been Eco blogging for almost 1 year myself and also enjoy blogging for Cascadian Farm. The Nature Conservancy blog is fabulous.

  3. I would add that we have one hell of a great editor. Bob – thanks for making the blog what it is, can’t wait to see what the future holds! Juicy stuff, I’m sure.

  4. Congratulations on your big, juicy first year – and I’m sure there are many more to come. Personally, I can’t think of a better example of a science-focused blog that speaks about the issues that matter in a way that’s both accessible and engaging. Thanks for sharing all these great stories with us and keep ’em coming – we want more in 2010!

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