Transition Vert Offers A Multi-Lingual Eco View

There aren’t many multi-lingual blogs around so when one of them’s an eco-blog I thought it was worth a mention.

Transition Vert is dedicated to bringing people’s green experiences from around the world – in different languages. Set up by a former editor of Green Guy’s Global, Gareth Jones, the site has an unusal mix of writers including a 10 year-old girl, a human rights activist with experience in Kosovo and Rwanda and a lawyer from the Exxon Valdez case who quit when she realised she was on the wrong side. There are also writers from Norway, Nigeria and Indonesia lined up so it’s well worth a look.

Tranistion Vert

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Blog Action Day

Today, 15 October, is Blog Action Day 2008. In 2007 it was all about the environment with blogs straying away from their usual topic and writing about the chosen subject.

This year the theme is poverty and at least 15 of the top 100 blogs have signed up to discuss it. If you go to Blog Action Day here you’ll find links to all the sites involved and get to read some great stuff from your favourite writers. I’ll be spending most of the day doing it.

Green Link Love – Other Great Green Sites 2

After my first Green Link Love post I received a few emails, two of which stood out. One asking “What is link love?” – it’s simply linking out to other sites that might be of interest to your readers. The “love” part is because it helps the other website as you provide a link and, if done correctly, can help them in their search engine rankings. This isn’t the reason for doing it of course, but it can help.

Life Goggles Green Link Love Logo

The second interesting email was asking whether it was a good idea to link out to competing websites. The way I see it is other green sites are not competition for us. If one person can make a difference by recycling or making an effort to be environmentally responsible and sustainable then they are part of a wider community that are helping make the world a better place. A website is the same, no matter how large or small, that site can make a difference and is part of a community. One that we’re proud to be part of. That said, let’s move on….

As before, for more fun green things on the web, see Adam’s increasingly popular Fun Green Roundups.

First up is the wonderfully named WEEE Man that is a depiction of a human made up of the average amount of electronic waste a UK citizen would use in their lifetime. The WEEE refers to European legislation called the Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment directive. Full of tips, it’s worth taking a look at.

The ever expanding Green Options has turned one year old. To celebrate, the excellent Sustainablog will be featuring one of our posts every week from now on.

David runs The Good Human, a site that encourages people to be better humans, whether through working to clean up the environment, being active in political issues that mean a lot to you or just being more aware of your life and surroundings. Some great stuff on there, such as 30 uses for a dead tree, and I like the 10% discount on Simple Shoes he currently has at the moment until March 31st.

The National Geographic Intelligent Travel blog is always good value, like the world’s first solar city. Actually Marilyn sent me a link to a stunning article about how your electronic trash is sometimes shipped out to places like Ghana where adults and children melt them down to sell the often toxic metals inside. Fascinating and frightening.

There are a few websites for “green” jobs, though the market is still relatively new and there is yet a definition of what a green job actually is. If you want a job that matters, one place to look is Jobs That Matter. If you’ve tried them, let me know.

G2bgreen has a green to-do list. The tips are pretty unorganized and it is a long list, but there is some gold in there. And while on the subject, they have a list of places to go for green jobs.

Fancy some eco art? Eco Artware creates gifts from recycled , reused and natural materials. If coasters made from re-used metal traffic signs, or a bottle opener made from an old bike chain sound good to you, then take a look. Life Goggles will be reviewing some of their products over the next few months (i.e. when I buy something from there for my wife’s birthday!).

Cool Green Gadgets does exactly what it says on the tin, looks at cool green gadgets.

Finally a question for you – http://www.localcooling.com/ – Has anyone tried it or heard of it?

Well that’s it for this time. Any comments, please post them below – was this too long, too short? Needs more pictures? Would be better as an audio or video post? Just let me know!

If you want to be featured here, drop me a line and we’ll take a look.

How To Build A Green House

I dream of the day I can buy some land and build my own green home. Or at least pay other people to build it for me. A quick search round the web will give you lots of green building projects. One that stands out is Green in Medusa – a husband and wife team of Baldomero and Stephenie Fernandez, along with architect Lynn Gaffney, designing and building an affordable house in upstate New York.

baldomero.jpg

Baldomero took some time out to talk to Life Goggles.

Life Goggles: Can you give us a bit of background and tell us a little bit about who you and Stephenie are?
Baldomero: We met on a photo shoot in Los Angeles in 2000 and have been married six years and are expecting our first baby literally any day now! We share many of the same passions – travelling the world, good food, art, music, city life mixed with country life. We are exposed to many different cultures and choices and that got us started thinking green. We would come back from Africa or Cuba and see the amount of excess and waste all around us in our own lives and here in the US. We started making small choices here and there to live greener, cleaner – reduce, reuse, recycle… and this is just a continuation. Our next project is converting our diesel wagon to bio diesel. We think about the impact of driving upstate – in the meantime we’ve bought a terrapass to help offset our CO2 footprint.

LG: Why did you decide to build an eco house?
B: While building is not inherently “green” We wanted to be responsible and choose healthier alternatives that don’t harm the environment as much as other choices. We found there are increasingly more products and desire out there, and hopefully it will become the mainstream way of doing things instead of the alternative way.

LG: How did you hook up with architect Lynn Gaffney?
B: We had been interviewing and researching architects and builders for a few months – finding someone we both loved was harder than we thought – and we knew that whomever we went with would be a relationship we would have to endure for quite a while. We wanted someone who would help us build our dream house, not their dream house. We had a few we really liked and just when we were about to decide on one we received an issue of Dwell and saw an article on a house built by Lynn for herself. We were inspired by her house and got in touch with her right away. She was lovely from the beginning, offered to meet us up at her house so we could see it in person. We knew Lynn was the one when after spending half an hour with us she basically sketched a house that we had been dreaming of for the past few years… something that no other architect we we interviewed did.

LG: What was the first thing you did to get started?
B: Write a check/cheque to Lynn. Once you start spending money your realise it’s for real.

LG: Why did you buy the land that you have?
B: We live in NYC and started going upstate NY with friends who rented houses up there as a great escape from urban life. We both love the outdoors, camping, hiking and really want to have more of that in our lives. We saw this piece of land and fell in love with the view, the 2400 acres of state forest a couple of hundred yards away, the town of Rensselaerville three miles away also helped make our mind up. We knew we wanted to build our own place, something green and on a strict budget. We’ve had the property for three years… we’ve really spent our time thinking about it, spending seasons up there and now we are finally in the process.
How To Build A Green House

The Top 35 Environment Blogs – And We’re #1! Or Maybe #35…

Okay, it’s more likely we’re number 35, especially if Treehugger is the first on there, but I like to think of it as being in reverse order.

Actually Read/Write Web haven’t numbered them. As part of Blog Action Day on Monday 15 October they listed their top 35 environmental blogs. They’re some great sites on there (and friends – hi to Josh at the Lazy Environmentalist and Vanessa at Green as a Thistle) so it’s nice to be mentioned in the same company as all them.

If you don’t know about Read/Write Web, they’re one on the 25 most popular blogs in the world according to Technorati and write about web technology, do reviews and analysis.

Calling All Bloggers – Top 10 Blogging Tips

For those of you who have yet to hear, blog guru and friend of Life Goggles, Yaro Starak has released his Blog Mastermind class. For a behind the scenes preview of what his class entails and what resources are available, watch the video.

You can also download his FREE Blog Profits Blueprint eBook, it’s worth a read to see what you’ll be getting.

Click here to get The Blog Profits Blueprint

The links are affliate ones, i.e. we get paid if you decide to sign up. However many blogging courses do that, but this is the only one (besides Rich Schefren’s occasional courses) that we recommend. Why? Because it’s great, and I’ve known Yaro for a while now and the guy knows what he is talking about. The video is proof of that.

The early bird special, for $47 per month (no minimum contract I think) ends tomorrow (Thursday 27th June), so get in now if you think you need some help to make some money blogging. Frankly, who doesn’t?!

As a sneak preview, here are Yaro’s top ten blogging tips:

10. Write at least five major “pillar” articles. A pillar article is usually a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something. Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice. This article you are currently reading could be considered a pillar article since it is very practical and a good “how-to” lesson. This style of article has long term appeal, stays current (it isn’t news or time dependent) and offers real value and insight. The more pillars you have on your blog the better.

9. Write one new blog post per day minimum. Not every post has to be a pillar, but you should work on getting those five pillars done at the same time as you keep your blog fresh with a daily news or short article style post. The important thing here is to demonstrate to first time visitors that your blog is updated all the time so they feel that if they come back tomorrow they will likely find something new. This causes them to bookmark your site or subscribe to your blog feed.

You don’t have to produce one post per day all the time but it is important you do when your blog is brand new. Once you get traction you still need to keep the fresh content coming but your loyal audience will be more forgiving if you slow down to a few per week instead. The first few months are critical so the more content you can produce at this time the better.

8. Use a proper domain name. If you are serious about blogging be serious about what you call your blog. In order for people to easily spread the word about your blog you need an easily rememberable domain name. People often talk about blogs they like when they are speaking to friends in the real world (that’s the offline world, you remember that place right?) so you need to make it easy for them to spread the word and pass on your URL. Try and get a .com if you can and focus on small easy to remember domains rather than worry about having the correct keywords (of course if you can get great keywords and easy to remember then you’ve done a good job!).

7. Start commenting on other blogs. Once you have your pillar articles and your daily fresh smaller articles your blog is ready to be exposed to the world. One of the best ways to find the right type of reader for your blog is to comment on other people’s blogs. You should aim to comment on blogs focused on a similar niche topic to yours since the readers there will be more likely to be interested in your blog.

Most blog commenting systems allow you to have your name/title linked to your blog when you leave a comment. This is how people find your blog. If you are a prolific commentor and always have something valuable to say then people will be interested to read more of your work and hence click through to visit your blog.

6. Trackback and link to other blogs in your blog posts. A trackback is sort of like a blog conversation. When you write a new article to your blog and it links or references another blogger’s article you can do a trackback to their entry. What this does is leave a truncated summary of your blog post on their blog entry – it’s sort of like your blog telling someone else’s blog that you wrote an article mentioning them. Trackbacks often appear like comments.

This is a good technique because like leaving comments a trackback leaves a link from another blog back to yours for readers to follow, but it also does something very important – it gets the attention of another blogger. The other blogger will come and read your post eager to see what you wrote about them. They may then become a loyal reader of yours or at least monitor you and if you are lucky some time down the road they may do a post linking to your blog bringing in more new readers.

5. Encourage comments on your own blog. One of the most powerful ways to convince someone to become a loyal reader is to show there are other loyal readers already following your work. If they see people commenting on your blog then they infer that your content must be good since you have readers so they should stick around and see what all the fuss is about. To encourage comments you can simply pose a question in a blog post. Be sure to always respond to comments as well so you can keep the conversation going.

4. Submit your latest pillar article to a blog carnival. A blog carnival is a post in a blog that summarizes a collection of articles from many different blogs on a specific topic. The idea is to collect some of the best content on a topic in a given week. Often many other blogs link back to a carnival host and as such the people that have articles featured in the carnival enjoy a spike in new readers.

To find the right blog carnival for your blog, do a search at http://blogcarnival.com/.

3. Submit your blog to blogtopsites.com. To be honest this tip is not going to bring in a flood of new readers but it’s so easy to do and only takes five minutes so it’s worth the effort. Go to Blog Top Sites, find the appropriate category for your blog and submit it. You have to copy and paste a couple of lines of code on to your blog so you can rank and then sit back and watch the traffic come in. You will probably only get 1-10 incoming readers per day with this technique but over time it can build up as you climb the rankings. It all helps!

2. Submit your articles to EzineArticles.com. This is another tip that doesn’t bring in hundreds of new visitors immediately (although it can if you keep doing it) but it’s worthwhile because you simply leverage what you already have – your pillar articles. Once a week or so take one of your pillar articles and submit it to Ezine Articles. Your article then becomes available to other people who can republish your article on their website or in their newsletter.

How you benefit is through what is called your “Resource Box”. You create your own resource box which is like a signature file where you include one to two sentences and link back to your website (or blog in this case). Anyone who publishes your article has to include your resource box so you get incoming links. If someone with a large newsletter publishes your article you can get a lot of new readers at once.

1. Write more pillar articles. Everything you do above will help you to find blog readers however all of the techniques I’ve listed only work when you have strong pillars in place. Without them if you do everything above you may bring in readers but they won’t stay or bother to come back. Aim for one solid pillar article per week and by the end of the year you will have a database of over 50 fantastic feature articles that will work hard for you to bring in more and more readers.

Visit Blog Mastermind for more!