In preparation for the launch of my very own green video blog on GreenDig, I cruised the web looking for video blogs that showcase the latest and greatest in green media.
Surprisingly green video blogs are few and far between. My criteria included frequency (at least 1 post per month ... I know, not too frequent but beggars can't be choosers) and recent activity (a post within the last month) and some level of consistency in the quality of the content (no reposting). The cardinal rule of video blogging is a run time between 2-5 minutes, but I have pushed the upper limit an additional 3 minutes to allow for a few great contenders.
In case you are unfamiliar with the term, here is a brief history of the video blog:
Video blogs (or vlog in geek speak, pronounced "v-log") exploded onto the web even before the YouTube revolution of user-generated media (UGM). An early precedent-setting vlog was Rocketboom which debuted to much fanfare and over 100,000 daily viewers. Amanda Peet's informal delivery of the day's top news stories (and a slightly clingy angora sweater) created a whole new way of thinking about the news.
Instead of a stuffy, deadpan news anchor, Amanda was like your best friend, smart and perky, who was just so excited to tell you about HER interpretation of the top news stories of the day.
Sociologists and Internet pundits (like Marc Canter and Ken Rutkowski) predicted the emergence of a 21st century, post-modern paradigm shift in the presentation of news.
Liberated from the seemingly objective shackles of mainstream news, the video blog was free to express the personality and priorities of the individual vlogger openly and transparently, in dramatic contrast to certain "faux news" networks that use the moniker and presentation style of "News" to mask packaged political agendas (or just plain ol' advertising).
Post-YouTube, several video bloggers emerged to gain significant followings, like Philip DeFranco (aka sxephil featured above) whose 3-4 minute daily news recaps regularly generate 400,000+ views. Smart and snarky, Phil has proven that you can have your news and eat it too.
A host of platforms later -- Blip, Current (which has now pulled the plug on UGM), Vimeo, and Veoh -- gave rise to categories of "channels" like Sports and Politics. But the "environment" category has always been a little lacking.
Still there are some shining stars. Here's my Top 10 list (notable addition in the #10 spot!) of the best green video blogs. If you know of other great vlogs I'm missing add them in the comments section below:
The Webby-nominated "It Girl" of green video. The folks at LA-based Viropop have been cranking out great weekly shows starring the eternally adorable Jessica Williamson and some kick-ass editing (video above) with a special focus on entertainment, gadgets and cool cars.
The Grist Mill is arguably the most influential green news blog in the U.S. and about 7 months ago they started this great blog with green living expert Umbra. She tackles challenging green lifestyle questions and explores the environmental benefits of everything from bike commuting to organic coffee.
One of my favs... a great DIY video blog that illustrates how to fashion your own unique hipster wear from commonly available materials. A runner-up would have been the uber hip Etsy video blog, but sadly they stopped publishing about 6 month's ago.
British branding genius Andy Hobsbawm came up with the super clever Do the Green Thing video website, which uses a very off-kilter sense of humor and a cast of multi-tentacled green monsters to educate people about the environment.
The now infamous video series starring Isabella Rossellini on how different creatures have sex. The first season featured all insects. The new season features ocean creatures ... educational and unbelievably bizarre.
On YouTube, Planet Green hosts a nice sampling of clips from the G Word, one of the best environmental shows on television which delves into a wide array of subjects from tire recycling to shark hunting. Though the videos are repurposed (not original for the web) I'm counting G Word because it does provide a great variety of content in nice 2-minute chunks. The Discovery Network also has something similar for their show Project Earth.
eHow the popular how-to website just posted up a zillion wonky videos (think white boards, lots and lots of white boards) mostly focusing on scientific and engineering facts about energy -- solar, wind and nuclear. But some great and clearly articulated factoids are to be found. Time will tell if this is a going to be a true video blog with regular updates or just an SEO (search engine optimization) play.
Van Jones recently left his post as executive director of Green for All, but the organization is going strong and has a nice series of videos hosted on YouTube that shows some of their work in the green jobs arena.
Green architect Michelle Kauffman is the darling of the green design community for her pioneering work in sleek, modern pre-fab homes. She also hosts a useful video blog for the homeowner wanting to turn their home green with nifty tips -- how to set up a recycling station, how to make a recycled garden chandelier, etc.
How could I have missed it! One of the best eco Magazines out there has a secret stash of over 300 videos featuring Editor-in-Chief Waylon Lewis interviewing some of the luminaries of the green world -- Andrew Weil, Paul Hawken, Bill McKibben, Lester Brown, Sumer Rayne, Graham Hill and on and on. It's like a time capsule of the emergence of the green revolution. I'm embedding a video below so you can get the flavor (and because it features music from one of my favorite bands ever MGMT). According to Lewis, more to come this week...
This one didn't quite make it onto the list because the videos have not been kept current (some of them are recently reposted from an event last year). But I had to mention them for their groundbreaking attempt to rebrand the "darker side of green," making green a bit hipper and a bit edgier. The videos are by G Living, a Santa Monica-based production company starring Sarah Backhouse with interviews by Boise Thomas (of Planet Green fame). The videos are worth watching just for the killer urban chic intro.
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