Bright Green fades to black

The Bright Green environment blog ends. Thanks to those who helped make it possible.

This NASA image taken by an International Space Station crew member in November 2009 shows the setting sun through the thin line of Earth's atmosphere.

After 22 months and some 500 posts, the Bright Green blog is coming to an end.

Even though it's closing down, in many respects Bright Green was a roaring success. Back in February 2008, when I first proposed doing a daily, Web-only update on environmental topics, the Monitor was a blog-free publication. We didn't even have the technology in place to publish directly to the Web without first running content through our (very buggy and cumbersome) print publication system.

Using WordPress, a free, open-source blogging platform, we built a new Environment section, which we bolted to our existing site in a way that made our developers extremely nervous. Still, everyone liked how the new Environment site worked, so we then cloned it to create new sections for Gardening, Books, Innovation, and Politics.

The realization that we were on to something big came in early August 2008, when I wrote a post titled "Will Paris Hilton's energy plan work?" The post sat on top of Google News for more than an hour, and the resulting onslaught of traffic ended up bringing down our entire site.

After that, it was clear to everyone that blogs would play an important role in the Monitor's Web strategy.

In April 2009, as my responsibilities shifted from writing to helping the Monitor transform from a primarily dead-tree-and-ink product into a Web-centric news organization, Environment editor Judy Lowe and science writer Moises Velasquez-Manoff joined Bright Green.

For this final post, I asked each of them to list the five posts they'd written that they were most proud of. The ever-modest Judy provided only four, adding that her real joy has been in working as the blog's editor. Her four are:

Video games can be energy hogs. Three tips to cut your power bill.

Native grasses an explosive idea for cleaning contaminated soil

Decline in honeybees highlights importance of wild pollinators

Three good green reads – from rot-proof apples to a revelation about everyone's favorite reindeer

And here are Moises's five favorites:

Community based fishery management and Somali pirates

A warmer world could make current airport runways too short

Climategate, global warming, and the tree rings divergence problem

Could water scarcity cause international conflict?

Audi's 'Green Police' Super Bowl ad controversial

And, as a final bit of self-indulgence, here are my own favorite five:

Does closing roads cut delays?

Scientists admit global warming is a hoax

Report: Illicit urban chicken movement growing in US

Are climate-change deniers guilty of treason?

Are climate change deniers like creationists?

Many thanks are in order. The people who have helped make the Bright Green blog a reality are too many to name, but a few stand out.

First, I'd like to express my thanks for the Monitor's former editor, the late Richard Bergenheim, who, in February 2007 first suggested that I write a weekly news roundup about global warming, and who, a year later, signed off on creating Bright Green.

I'd also like to thank Online Editor and politics blogger Jimmy Orr for his unceasing encouragement of my work. Jimmy is a huge thrash metal fan, and the video at the end of this post is for him.

Thanks also to Christian Scripter for his long hours spent designing and assembling the original Environment site.

And thanks also to the thousands of coders in the WordPress community. We're no longer using their excellent platform, but none of this could have gotten off the ground without their efforts.

And to Monitor science writer Pete Spotts, who has repeatedly filled in as guest blogger here and who is never too busy to stop what he's doing to answer a science question. And a very big thanks to my editor, Judy Lowe, who has repeatedly made me come off sounding far more intelligent than I actually am.

Finally, and most importantly, I'd like to thank all of our readers. Your feedback – the praise, the scorn, and everything in between – has kept me far more thorough and motivated than any editor could.

Judy, Moises, and I will continue to appear in these pages, and I hope that you'll keep reading – and commenting.

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