A look at the launch of a new green video sharing site. Also see the funniest environmental clips.
Brian Clark Howard
April 14, 2009
Earth Protect is aiming to become the new Green YouTube, according to communications director Veronica Alif. The video-sharing website had a youth launch in October, and is officially rolling out this month in honor of Earth Day.
To me Earth Protect's baby-and-globe logo calls to mind my past boss's least favorite cover, or perhaps even dreaded meat baby. I'm not super sold on the site's dark color scheme, either. But that being said I'm definitely a fan of the green and web 2.0, so I'll be watching with interest.
I asked Alif what users can expect from Earth Protect, and she replied:
"They can upload their own environmental videos or link to their favorite 'green' videos, as well as comment on the various videos. Videos can be ranked: users are able to vote with karma points on their favorite video. In addition, users can join a forum and be part of a conversation of their choice. And, they can be directly linked to our nonprofit partners so they can join a cause that resonates with their passions."
Earth Protect aims for "a library full of educational and entertaining videos on 13 different environmental categories." Some of the current offerings on the site's homepage include a piece explaining wave power, a quirky cartoon about deforestation in the Philippines and dispatches on climate change from around the world. It's clear the site is trying to make good on integration with nonprofit partners (including the UCLA Center for Tropical Research, Africa Bridge, the Australia Koala Foundation and others). That approach makes a lot of sense -- capitalize on an existing base and plug in users with actual action -- if it can be pulled off.
Lord knows how the kids like to comment on and rate videos, if YouTube is any indication. Of course there's the challenge: there's already a little site called YouTube. As many website owners know, it can be a steep climb from good idea to critical mass of real community, to an online culture that is sustainable itself, so it then can help bring more sustainability to the outside world. Even startups with serious funding (Pownce, Propeller) can struggle in the fickle, short attention-span world of web 2.0.
Earth Protect says they already have thousands of members in at least 150 countries. Judging by the lack of comments on videos so far, it looks like they have yet to reach a critical mass. While it's true green videos can get lost on massive YouTube, it could also prove true that Earth Protect itself could get lost on the massive Internet, if people don't start connecting there.
Log on, join the conversation. It could be a good time to get on Earth Protect early and make your mark. Plus, check out the site's video on Earth Day.