I started this blog on April 14, 2005, pondering what it means to be a progressive environmentalist. For more than two years various people made a significant contribution to the blog including Neil Hewett and Paul Biggs. About a year ago I asked them to take a more prominent role in the running of the blog and they have been posting under their own names here.
Some readers are able to distinguish posts from Paul, Neil and others, while a percentage continue to ascribe everything that is written at this weblog to me. It can become annoying for all concerned with commentators, for example, directing questions concerning a post from Paul, to me.
We’ve also tried to make it clear that this blog is a gathering place for people with a common interest in politics and the environment and that we strive for tolerance and respect and that we don’t always agree with what we publish, but we believe in giving people an opportunity to be heard.
When it comes to blogging I try to be inquiring and inclusive. My posts are often an attempt to understand an issue, not preach a concluded view. If someone sends me something which looks interesting, even if it is heretical, I’m happy to post it and see what responses we get.
In short, while the blog bears my name, I have seen it as a community, not just a soap box for me.
However, it’s sometimes wrongly assumed that I subscribe to everything that is posted at this site and I’ve even been variously associated with creationism, disputing that HIV causes Aids and the tobacco lobby. Meanwhile I’m an evolutionist, not a creationist, or an intelligent designer. I believe that AIDS is caused by HIV. I’m a reformed smoker, not a tobacco lobbyist.
Unfortunately I can see from the last few weeks that in view of my other professional work, I can’t continue to run this blog like that. Anything that appears here, whether or not I write it or it appears under my name, has been credited to me, and that can be used to try to discredit all of my work by mischief makers.
My day job for the IPA involves examining the scientific claims of others and critiquing them. My credibility as a research scientist is central to that work, and I can’t allow it to be compromised by people who want to seize onto any loose comment on this blog and attribute it to me. I also can’t allow loose comments on this blog to be used as a distraction from my considered critiques of other issues.
So, I have decided to make some changes to the way this blog is run. The changes won’t happen immediately because they involve site redesign, but what you will hopefully see is a clearer delineation of who is responsible for posts, and a clear differentiation between community “chatter” and information that you can rely on.
Paul Biggs will be starting his own blog with a focus on climate research news. I shall be promoting his blog once it is up and running which will hopefully be in the next couple of weeks. Neil Hewett will be putting more time into his own blog which will also be promoted at this site when the redesign is complete.
I hope you will continue to support us, after all, in the mainstream media, particularly when it comes to environmental issues, PR continues to overwhelm journalism.