Magazine article E Magazine

A 'Net Gain?

Magazine article E Magazine

A 'Net Gain?

Article excerpt

Just a few years ago, Internet purists were arguing that cyberspace should be kept totally free of commercial content. Ironically, in 1996, with 30 million users around the world (23 million in the U.S.), it's actually the commercial part of the World Wide Web that's growing the fastest. In 1994, there were only 588 commercial Websites; now there are more than 15,000, with 73 new ones added every day. Some 66 percent of Internet "servers" now handle commercial traffic exclusively.

But even if the Web is becoming, like Forbes magazine, a "capitalist tool," that doesn't mean it should be ignored by environmentalists. The beauty of the Internet as a weapon for the eco-warrior lies in its inherent democracy. Unlike cable television, with its electronic portals controlled by a few billionaire executives, anyone can start an uncensored Web page.

And in 1996, most environmental groups have done just that. Even the most inexperienced Web surfer will soon be dipping his toes into sites brimming with green information, "Action Alerts" and links to other eco-sites. At the League of Conservation Voters site, activists can download their congressperson's voting record - and e-mail Washington with their reaction to it. On EcoNet, the oldest environmental online service, they can join ongoing discussion groups and click on the latest green news from around the world. And on the EnviroLink Network, they can make contact with just about every green group with an electronic presence. …

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