Electronic communication has literally changed the way we do business. But as Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Suzanne Elston observes, for environmental groups and other NGOs, the transformation has been nothing short of miraculous:
Electronic communication has literally changed the way we do
business. But as Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Suzanne
Elston observes, for environmental groups and other NGOs, the
transformation has been nothing short of miraculous;
I’m a newspaper columnist and yet I’ve never spent a day inside a
newspaper office. Each week I sit in front of my computer in my old
farmhouse in the country and write about environmental issues. The
information that I need to write my column comes from materials that
I gather from the web. When I’m finished, I simply e-mail my column
to the newsroom computer. In most cases, I’ve never even met my
What’s so remarkable about my situation is that it’s not unique.
Thanks to the internet, millions of people are turning away from
traditional employment and are embracing a whole new way of working
and thinking. What I find so exciting is that because of the web,
even the most isolated writer can be connected to a global community
of independent and geographically separate individuals.
What the web has provided us with is the possibility of connecting
every soul on the planet – to empower and inform them, without
political restriction or financial control.
What this means for environmental advocates and others is a level
playing field. Local issues immediately become global when they’re
distributed electronically. Small groups can now compete in the war
of words against large corporations. In addition to getting their
message out, isolated groups now receive vital information and
support from around the planet. They are no longer alone in their
What’s so ironic about the Internet is that it was originally
designed – in secret – by the U.S. military as a way of communicating
in the event of a nuclear war. And although that net is now global in
scope, each individual connection to the network, each telephone
line, each modem is independent of all others.
I have the most amazing picture in my office. It’s a composite aerial.
photograph of the earth from space, taken at night. The continental
masses are outlined in points of light. The Great Lakes basin is so
clearly illuminated, that I can actually pinpoint where I live on the
north shore of Lake Ontario. Every time I look at the map I imagine
myself being connected instantaneously to every single point of light
on it. That’s the power of the web.
Suzanne Elston is a syndicated columnist living in Courtice, Ontario. She comes to us by way of the
Great Lakes Radio Consortium.