Bush administration accused of suppressing science

The Seattle PI has a solid article on a recent report from a group of world-class scientists and science organizations that charges the Bush administration with systematically suppressing science that conflicts with its political goals.

Dr. Gordon Orians, UW Zoologist and primary author of the report, is quoted extensively. Northwest environmental advocates will also note that he is a board member of the Brainerd Foundation. He’s also the dad of my college ecology professor Colin Nichols-Orians.

Movement as Network

Check out http://www.MovementAsNetwork.org.

ONE/Northwest has spent a bunch of time over the past few months thinking about how the Northwest environmental movement can apply the insights of social network theory and some other ideas to explore alternative approaches to connecting people and organizations within the movement. Gideon Rosenblatt, our E.D., has pulled together a major “think paper” that lays out a bunch of these ideas in an attempt to start a conversation. Some of them are bound to be controversial. Here are a few:

  • The environmental movement is a network that is more than the sum of its people and organizations.

  • This movement has invested in too much institutional overhead. Organizations need to focus on what they do best, and outsource the rest.

  • The majority of local environmental groups work on niche issues and solutions that will never attract large membership bases. Funders need to help free the most important of these organizations from focusing on this distraction.

  • There are three fundamental organizational strategies that environmental groups can adopt in their work; they need to pick one – and only one – strategy.

  • A handful of “breakaway” organizations will emerge as environmental brands that serve local audiences by interpreting and distributing the work of other groups.

We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we’re trying to ask some of the hard questions. I invite you to read the paper and to share your thoughts with us and others.

And of course please feel free to pass it along to anyone else who you think might be interested… we really want to see this circulated far and wide.

Comments on NOSI’s “Open Source Primer for Nonprofits”

My colleagues over at NOSI (Nonprofit Open Source Initiative) just released their first big “think piece” called “Choosing and Using Open Source Software: A Primer for Nonprofits.”

This is an admirable effort on an important topic by some outstanding folks, but there are some critical points the authors overlook, as well as some factual errors that should be corrected. Continue reading

Interview with Matthew Gross, Howard Dean’s (former) blogger-in-chief

The American Prospect just published a nice little exit interview with Matthew Gross, who started and ran Howard Dean’s blog until he recently had to leave the campaign to deal with some family medical issues.

While most of the interview is pretty pro-forma, there are a couple of solid nuggets in there from a guy who’s probably learned more about Internet organzing in the past year than the rest of us have learned in a lifetime.

[C]ampaigns are going to have to become their own media channels, and find ways to reach out to an increasingly segmented American audience. Campaigns will have to decentralize as the electorate becomes more decentralized.
The Internet has the ability to nationalize any race — look at the Chandler race in Kentucky right now. But the Internet’s not a trick. You still need a good candidate with a good message. And the media still exerts an enormous influence. That influence can be countered by the Internet, but the Net doesn’t eliminate it.