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A Long Comment and Thoughts on Blogging

Today I was asked a question about whether I “practice what I preach” – the inference from the commenter was that they don’t believe I do – I’m not sure why he would think that anyone would blog for over two years on things they didn’t believe in. (August 2006 Archives).

Comment from Alex on Castlegar Airport Beacons

umm….I think someone forgot to take their meds today…

Browsing through your site, I’m interested to know if you practice what you self righteously preach. How do you get to work and shopping? Do you grow all all of your own food? Refuse to use airplanes? Live in high density housing? Just curious….

Looking back through the archives (link above to the beginnings), I think I’ve forgotten to “take my meds” for over two years!

A Response to the Question

I was at a course all day today, and I felt quite challenged to provide an answer to this person who was likely just being provocative. Typically, it is my policy that if someone starts being rude or an ass in any way in the comments at UrbanWorkbench, I will delete it – particularly if they don’t leave a real email address. This comment I left on the system, because it provided an opportunity for additional discussion – and from the IP address, I can see that the comment was left by someone in Castlegar. This is part of my response, click the link to read it all – I think it’s the longest comment I’ve left anywhere in the blogosphere.

Castlegar Airport Beacons – My Response (click to read full comment)

I see nothing “self righteous” in what I’m saying on this website. Theses are opinions, not intended to prove my ideals better or worse than others. However, the residents of the City of Castlegar deserve more information about the realities of how the decline of the oil economy is going to impact them. I am a professional engineer involved in many sustainability projects – I criticize this project because I live in the community and only see a short term useful life of these beacons….

I’m not criticizing those who choose air travel, (I haven’t been on a plane in two years – not that it really matters – but you asked), but an acknowledgment that this behavior is likely to not be possible without oil would be nice. Oil, if you don’t know, is going to run out one day – and you’d need an awfully long power cord to run an airplane on electricity using today’s technology.

But is it Still Self Righteous?

This still raised the question in my mind, “Am I being self righteous in what or how I write?” If I am right, what does that say about those who refuse to listen? If I am wrong, have I at least added to the discussion of local sustainability and allowed some critical thinking to occur on a regular basis? Is anything that I’m suggesting or stating a particularly bad idea on a global sustainability level?

The last thing I want to be on UrbanWorkbench is self righteous – but I, and this Alex from Castlegar, both of us, and anyone else who cares to weigh in – have a right to express our thoughts, beliefs, hopes, predictions and disappointments with the world around us. And a note to all the commenters that leave nasty, spammy or other comments, take note of this post from TechCrunch…

Ten Comments You Think Are Cool And Insightful But Aren’t

If you are going to say something nasty, use your real name or learn about the magic of proxy servers

Thank you to those of you who have been supportive and regular commenters – have a great weekend!

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

6 thoughts on “A Long Comment and Thoughts on Blogging

  1. It’s been a while since I was questioned or criticized on my blog (old VariableInterest), but it was the same type of question on a post of mine about destructive, selfish habits and driving (out of habit) that gave birth to some shouts against me. What I do to cover that is post, at some point, what my own downfalls are in being sustainable because it gets me thinking again. I post about where I could be better, and what I do to compensate when I can’t do better.

    But this is only blogging. It’s an outlet and a conversation piece. So post whatever you want and at least do your best to practice what you preach. At least you’re getting the good word out there – that’s how I feel about it.

    torbjorn rives last blog post..Doing My Part With mini-Rants

  2. Hmph. You handled this way better than I would have. I have a pet peeve about people who suggest “meds” have or have not been taken as it implies there is something mentally awry…That’s stigmatizing to those of us who DO take “meds.” It’s rude and ignorant and I would have deleted the comment and been way less gracious than you have been!

    Wandering Coyotes last blog post..Weather Update

  3. Hi, Mike and Robyn. I see one of you visited my blog earlier today, and I want to say hello since we have a few things in common. One, I am a Canadian; two, I am an engineer (civil); and three, I blog about sustainability issues. I now live in Cape Town, but am from Toronto originally and started blogging there, but am now addressing issues more strongly from an African perspective.

    My comment on dealing with accusations of self-righteousness is that nobody is perfect; but even if we were, the road to sustainability is complex and strewn with obstacles and choices. That’s key: choices. Meaning there are often degrees of correctness, and there are individual situations to consider. There are always compromises to be made, which will provide fodder for those who use the accusation of “lack of consistency” as an excuse for debunking efforts to bring us closer to lifestyles that will leave something behind for future generations. I fly a lot, but I haven’t driven to work in three years. What does that make me? Dunno, but I am satisfied that I consider my carbon impact in the choices I make. Keep it up, guys, and (with apologies to Wandering Coyote) please continue to “forget taking your meds”.

  4. It’s always a delicate matter of whether to leave comments or delete the ones that are rude and out of line. Great response though! Some people just can’t see anything but the negative side of things.

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