How Careful Should Green Bloggers Be?

It’s interesting blogging about living an eco friendly lifestyle. There’s a lot to talk about, even if some days inspiration is hard to come by. There are often news stories to think about commenting on, products to be reviewed or recommended, and lots of tips to give.

One of the challenges, as with any kind of blogging, is keeping things accurate.

One of the challenges is keeping things accurate.

This isn’t always an easy thing to do. Anyone can make a mistake, and sometimes you aren’t given all of the information you need to be as accurate as you would like to be.

Are You Checking Your Resources?

When you blog, you should be paying attention to where you’re getting your information from, whether it’s information on a sample a company sent you to review that they say is green, or something interesting in the news. You aren’t doing your job if you aren’t trying to be accurate.

Companies greenwash products regularly

This isn’t always easy. Companies greenwash products regularly (PDF), using vaguely environmentally friendly terms that aren’t regulated to describe them. You can’t always get enough information about how a product is made to be absolutely certain it is what it says it is.

When you report on a news story in a green blog, choosing the right resources matters. You aren’t often going to be a firsthand witness, and even if you are, odds are good that you will need some help explaining exactly what happened and what it means for the environment.

There’s nothing wrong with reporting more than one side of the story and adding in your own perspective when you’re a blogger. Blogging usually is about one’s own view of things. But start with a source that gives you whatever facts are available.

Don’t Review Just Anything

Many companies will offer green bloggers completely inappropriate products for review. Sometimes you can really tell that they just want the product name out there, they don’t care how it happens.

I suggest a couple of basic rules for products.

First, if it’s clearly not eco friendly, think if you want to bother. Sure, you can criticize it, but is the product you need something sent out to you to do that? That could just be a waste.

Don’t be afraid to give a negative review.

Second, don’t be afraid to give a negative review, even for eco friendly products. No one likes everything. The more honest you are in your product reviews, the more readers will trust you when you do like a product.

Third, do consider if you really want to review products just for the price of being given the product for free. There are a few perspectives on this, from the point that magazines get free products to review regularly to the point that you’re running a business and your review can be seen as a service to the business, something you should be compensated for. Whatever you do, be upfront about any compensation, including free product you receive, when you do your reviews.

Admit Your Mistakes

We’re all human. Mistakes happen. Admitting a mistake isn’t unprofessional… to the contrary.

Use any mistakes you make as a lesson to your readers. Discuss how the mistake was made and how you can avoid it in the future. It will be good for you and your readers.