Overture for a Comprehensive Romanian Online Ecology Project
July 26th, 2007

Ionut Parausanu is a young Romanian student with a passion for the Internet and for Search Engine Optimization. Sometime ago, out of curiosity but with an inner feeling, he used Google Trends to see what he gets for the term “ecology.” He observed that, while the online information on ecology increased lately, the search volume for this kind of news obviously decreased. So, he concluded that people sort of turn their backs on a storm about to blast them in the near future. If nothing is done, of course.

Google Trends on Ecology

With a proactive attitude, he considered that the most important thing to do for now is to make people more sensitive and aware of the eco problems. He evaluated the existing Romanian NGOs and governmental projects in the area of ecology as being hilariously (or rather sadly) poor and unstructured on the levels of the information and of the solutions they offer. Also, most of the information available on ecology in the Romanian cyberspace consists in 8th grade ecology papers, because this is what’s looked for in general. So, the best way to reach the goals of a truly informing ecocrusade, he thought, was to tell it to the people. Again. In their faces. Online. This time with lots of relevant data, graphics, and movies. Structured into eco themes. All powered by volunteer bloggers.

He noticed a very good online idea of bloggers invited to take charge of existing, but dying or inefficient NGOs. Then he had the idea of bringing to life an association with the purpose of serving such an online ecology informing project. He made a list of eco domains covering areas like food additives, environment authorizations, biodiversity, biosecurity, waste management, alternative fuels, pollution control, urban ecology, renewable energy (like wind and solar energy), eco events, forests status, environmental legislation, ecological policies, and social responsibility, just to name a few of the more than 30 domains. He registered online domains for all these ecological areas of interest under .org suffixes. They will become the patrimony of the future association. For now they are only listed on the main site of this initiative.

His plan is to find 5 volunteers for each of the sites to get them working at full potential. Then he will implement online discussion boards by help of group collaborative software, so eco subjects, problems, themes can be discussed, debated, shaped into informative articles and events. So far, there’s been both appreciation and critics addressed to this project. Many enthusiastic people wanted to join the teams. Other people played the role of the cynical skeptic who believes nothing can be done despite of the mass mobilization. Some grumpy voices said that Ionut wants to monopolize the eco-thematic slice of Romanian online space. Meanwhile, those many enthusiasts turned into fewer real joiners (The “Many called, fewer chosen” rule applied.) The skeptic voices melted away into the terrible heat of the summer. Ionut remains confident that he can do a good job and waits for the volunteer team status to get from 70% (now) to the needed 100%. Then all the eco websites will be deployed, aiming for the heart of an uninformed and unaware population.

Let’s hope they will fully hit their target!

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