A social networking site for the eco-savvy takes off

By Joshua Bernstein

Illustration by Neil Swaab

Translating Care2’s social responsibility to the real world, Paynter admits, is a tad trickier. Though he recounts stories of members marrying (six couples, at last count) and volunteering for nonprofits, Care2 has not yet sponsored marches, protests, or other large-scale activist actions. But Paynter says members have made changes in their own lives, ditching toxic household cleansers, increasing recycling, and using less energy. “Change happens at the level of individuals,” Paynter says, “and their ability to influence and connect with others.”

I came to Care2 with a healthy dose of skepticism. Call me quaint, but when I want to be heard, I click off my computer and hit the streets. In a shifting activist world, I still prefer agitating for change the old-fashioned way. But several weeks of membership allowed me to see that Care2 embodies some of the Internet’s best qualities. Fixing the world’s problems can be a cold, lonely, Sisyphean struggle, and while the site may not offer every eco-answer, I uncovered a wealth of news on underreported stories. And I found mostly welcoming forums full of folks eager to listen (save for those ubiquitous crotchety rabble-rousers). The sense of community was palpable, with members reaching out to provide real online kinship. “This is a movement that is important to people who sit at their computers and are unable to travel the world by other means,” Minde told me. “It lets us get involved and be heard.”

They say that everybody has to start somewhere, and for many people these days, an ever-growing virtual community of like-minded friends is somewhere that makes sense.


 1  |  2 

Issue 25

Sign up for Plenty's Weekly Newsletter