If you've been reading this blog for a while you may have noticed the new ads. I thought I'd take a moment to explain my decision to display ads and reflect on the challenges of paying for advocacy in general.
First of all let me say that I am not allowed to encourage you to click the ads. That's part of the agreement with Google AdSense which serves them up.
I put up a poll for several days on whether I should display the ads before I decided to do it and I heard no objections. However, I don't think all types of ads are appropriate here, since some would dilute the message too much. Therefore, I have blocked ads for motor vehicles, car insurance, the fossil fuel industry, and some other things that I find objectionable. However, I'm still learning how to use the filters, so if something slips through that probably shouldn't be here I'd appreciate hearing about it.
So far the amount of money I've made is extremely modest. Let's just say they don't even cut you a check until you make $100 and it looks like that will take me a while. However, it's only been a few days and that may change. I want to try this out for to see if it's possible to make any noticeable income from it.
The reason I'm trying this out is I've still got some work to do before I'm completely financially self-sufficient. I figure if I can bring in some extra income by showing some non-objectionable ads, there isn't much harm.
This brings me to the fact that advocates need to be paid for their advocacy to be sustainable and optimally effective. Advocacy is hard work. It takes time, and if done in a professional way, it entails expenses. If people can get paid to advocate for good things (e.g. new urbanism, multi-modal transportation) their financial interests can be made to align with the public interest. If there is no money at all to be made advocating, then people can sometimes face a difficult choice between their ideals and their survival (and survival is a strong motivator).
I guess what I'm getting at is if you have a cause you care about, consider donating to it regularly. Or at the very least, consider what it would take for that cause to be financially self-sufficient without having to compromise its core values. At the end of the day, we all need to get paid somehow. Even the most ardent advocate needs to eat.
That said, if it becomes obvious after trying this for a while that there is no serious money to be made with these ads, I'll chuck 'em. Regardless, as you see the ads, please remember that happiness comes not through blind consumption, but when the ethical and material aspects of our lives are brought into thoughtful harmony. Money should be a means to a more just, happy, and environmentally responsible society, not an end to be pursued for its own sake.