By Hannah Guzik
It's come to this. I'm writing an environmental column about Facebook.

Not that the "book," as s o many of my cyber-hip friends call it, is anti-environment. In fact, I know a lot of eco-savvy folks who log on everyday to tell the world how their peas are growing and their kombucha is brewing.

But it's not like Facebook is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the great outdoors.

It's not … right?

These days, Facebook, Google and Twitter are a part of mainstream culture.

Anytime your friends go on a hike, they post their photos on Facebook to show you how connected with nature they are.

My co-worker, Mandy Valencia, aka the social media queen, just posted this quote on Facebook by actor Rainn Wilson: "I don't have a Facebook is the new I don't have a TV."

If you don't have Facebook, it's easy to feel left out. There's this whole nether-world going on online and if you haven't signed up and signed over your info to Mark Zuckerberg, you can't access it.

Writing on Facebook, a friend of mine described the social media site as "a necessary evil" in today's hyper-connected world.

I'm not about to weigh in on whether the site has an angel or a demon sitting on its gigantic servers.

But I will tell you that I'm in the "book," and I'm not referring to the phone book — which as far as I'm concerned is a huge waste of trees, since all of the info is online anyway. But that's another column …

I joined Facebook a few winters ago, after holding out through my college years, when the social media site made its debut. Watching the 2010 film "The Social Network," about the early days of the site on college campuses, was like entering a seven-year time warp. The film is an excellent glimpse into the somewhat-sordid origins of social networking.

Here's the reason I like Facebook: It allows me to interact with and learn from all of you. You can send me column suggestions. You can show me photos of your compost. You can give me tips on where to go camping.

Already this week, my friends' updates have told me how to build a cob oven, what's in season at the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market and when the next Shasta Yoga Center workshop will be held.

I've also gotten article ideas from locals and read stories by former co-workers who are now reporting in Portland, Los Angeles and Seattle. I've even kept in touch with far-away family members, including my brother who just arrived in Philadelphia to Teach for America. I've made arrangements to meet with friends and been invited to a number of gatherings.

Facebook is really good at spreading information — for better and, in the case of former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., for worse. It's so popular because it's interesting.

It gives us the opportunity to stay connected and learn from each other in new ways. That helps us all, and it helps the Earth.

The important thing, of course, is to log off after awhile and actually go outside. In the end, the cyber world is no match for the real thing.

Now excuse me while I go post this column on Facebook.

Eco Logic and Hannah Guzik both have Facebook pages. Click "like" to follow and respond to their updates.

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Image courtesy of tungphoto

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