New Year’s Resolution of an Environmental Writer

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What are your environmental resolutions for the New Year? As an environmental writer, I have a very important one I want to share. It’s to invest the time to always check the facts.

Last week, I was writing a post based on some terrific comparison figures on print vs. e-media. Everything was going along fabulously — all the numbers were falling into place — until a nagging concern that had been growing became a screaming in my ear. None of the sources were cited.

I trusted the compiler of the data, but the data themselves were not sourced. I didn’t know how old the data were. I didn’t know whether they were government data or private industry data. I didn’t know whether they were from biased or unbiased sources.

Begrudgingly (not wanting to mess up my perfect post), I began looking them up. I Googled and Googled until I located most of them. In the end, I had to abandon the post. Not for lack of facts, but because the source of the facts created a conflict of interest for the post for the client for whom I was writing.  Some of the data were also outdated.

This is something I’m running across more and more. In this electronic media age, information is so easy to come by and anyone can put information out there. It’s easy Tweet, “like,” blog, and otherwise pass information around without checking it out.

As I wrote earlier this week, it’s easy to accept conventional wisdom as gospel in the environmental world. It sounds right, it appears to serve the greater good, and it’s certainly popular in the blogosphere, but is it actually factual? Sometimes, conventional wisdom, no matter how widely shared, is wrong.

If we are serious about our environmental responsibility, we need to be serious about accuracy.  That starts with checking and sourcing our sources.  If we’re doing it, great. If we’re not, it’s time to start.

Image source: The Stock Exchange (uploaded by sreecmcm)

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