Response to fellow eco activist asking me to promote their friend’s site

(This is to help those of you who, like me, often get requests to promote other people’s stuff, and who want to be kind & diplomatic & supportive to a fellow activist without feeling obligated to give your labor to something you don’t necessarily feel aligned with).

Good morning, I don’t know if you remember [name of person]. A longtime travel writer focused on climate-friendly travel. He needs followers to his blog. Followers are very important to getting his latest book published. It’s a subject that might interest you and you might pass it on to your eco-aware friends & associates.

Thanks, I’ll check out your friend’s blog; always good to see what my fellow people who identify as “green/eco” are saying.
But, as I have written extensively in my own book and blog (did you know I have a book and blog?), I’m pretty adamantly against tourism and air travel — not only for eco footprint reasons but also for reasons of gentrification, displacement of indigenous populations, etc.

The tourist industry, even “eco” tourism, is deeply problematic in many ways.

And doubly so for our Boomer age group and privileged demographic, who have already gotten to see so much of the world with no thought to the consequences. It’s time for us to stay home, stick to train travel and human-powered transport, maybe sailing (for people who insist on continuing to travel overseas).

Too much to fit in an email but i go into my takes on tourism, consumerism, and other eco topics on my blog DEEP GREEN —

BTW (in case it helps give you an idea of my general orientation): Besides being very active in the permaculture design movement, I’m a strong advocate and participant in the decolonization, Deep Adaptation, Degrowth, and Bioregionalist movements.

Cheers and Happy Friday to you! And thank YOU [fellow activist] for being such a force for good in reimagining our transportation system here at home, and getting people to appreciate what we have right here; be deep tourists of our own place. It helps not only our region but the whole planet.


(Afterthoughts: Of course, once I check out someone’s site or other work, I could end up feeling aligned with it. In that case I’d consider sharing it, but if the request comes from outside my mutual-aid community I would probably want some sort of reciprocity, be it financial compensation or mutual publicity. Even just a seemingly simple share is WORK (if you doubt it, see how quiet most people get when you ask them to help you publicize your thing); it involves risks that tend to be overlooked; and it deserves compensation!)

(More afterthoughts): 1) I referred to the person who emailed me as a “fellow activist,” and that is true … But also, to be honest, this person would probably best be considered my “superior”; is sort of a regional superstar who someone of “my status level” probably would not usually hear from. So it was a big deal for me to speak my mind frankly to this person and not just be bowled over with honor that they contacted me at all and thought I might have something to offer.

(… Ah: POWER-ADJACENT. That’s the phrase I was looking for. It always blows me away when someone who’s a lot more power-adjacent than I am thinks of me as someone to ask for help from.)

And 2) After reflecting, I realized I didn’t feel right about closing off the possibility of dialoguing w the eco tourism expert who this person was wanting me to help promote. So, I sent them a Facebook friend request.

And, I sent the colleague/superstar a followup email:

“Hi again ___,
I just found ____ on Facebook and sent them a friend request. I may not be able to help them publicize, but one never knows! And it’s always good to connect & find common ground with people who care about [eco issues]. Happy Sunday to you!”

FINALLY: These posts of mine, where I share my responses to inquiries, may or may not be helping anyone else find their voice, temper the edges where appropriate, sharpen the edges where appropriate, etc. But I figure there are probably others of you who are dealing with similar challenges so I go ahead and make these posts. If you don’t find this type of content of mine useful, I hope other types of my content will be helpful to you.


BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! (By now I should know better than to say “finally” on my posts). There’s an additional dimension that only occurred to me belatedly.

The eco tourism writer is male. The person who approached me, to enlist my help in helping her friend, is female. Would a guy ask another guy to do this? To be fair, I’m not exactly sure of the details; for all I know she volunteered to help him, rather than him asking her. But then the next question, would a guy volunteer to help a guy in this way? Just something to ponder. Power dynamics, status hierarchy.

Other dimensions I didn’t mention: Both parties are probably a bit older than me, and I am pretty sure both are retired (as in not needing to work). My response might have been different for a young person trying to launch a livelihood; a fellow resident of my community; etc.

Also I overlooked another category of response option. This was prompted by a chat this morning with a dear friend (who is also a fellow activist). She reminded me that it’s not always obvious in the activist realm who is actually doing this as their livelihood and who is a fulltime volunteer. And, who is retired vs. still working.

One could simply write in response to such inquiries, “Hi, I don’t do publicity work but here is the name of a friend of mine who’s really good at what she does. She’s selective about the clients she takes on but he is welcome to contact her for an interview.”

Or, another possibility: “Hi, I do some publicity work for people/groups who I feel in alignment with. My hourly rate is $70. Typically I’m not in favor of tourism and air travel, but your friend is welcome to contact me for an interview to see if we are a fit.”