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Silencing the Cold War Hype: Understanding the Road to .ECO

With ICANN’s announcement that the application window for new TLDs will be opening in January 2012 there has been an influx of media coverage directed at our bid for .ECO, as well as the bids of many other organizations the world over. To date, many articles related to our bid have drawn immediate reference to the involvement of Mikhail Gorbachev and Al Gore.

Most media outlets have been eager to frame the campaign for .ECO as a head-to-head stand-off between Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection and Gorbachev’s Green Cross International, which is a founding member of our Community Council. While the references to Gore and Gorbachev are inevitable, given their stature, the assumption that the campaign for .ECO has been a power struggle of Cold War proportions is misleading, albeit cinematic.

While Green Cross International is in fact a member of our Community Council, they are one of many international organizations—including Greenpeace, Akatu Institute, WWF, Verite, Conservation International, The Green Belt Movement, The David Suzuki Foundation, ISEAL Alliance and more—who have been heavily involved in drafting the Policy that will dictate the form and function of .ECO. Each of our Council Members have ensured that integrity, transparency and accountability are at the heart of .ECO’s operating mandate.

There have also been a lot of comparisons within the international media to this being a race to the .ECO finish line. One can almost picture Gore and Gorbachev neck-and-neck as they stretch for the tape. However, in the 2+ years that we have been working on .ECO it’s never been solely about making it to the finish line. For us, the “finish line” is merely the beginning. It is the first step towards preserving an online space for the sustainability community for many years to come.

It is more important than ever that we stand united as a community to raise awareness about the issues facing our environment, including climate change and social justice. We believe that the community can come together to ensure that .ECO becomes an environmental resource for the future. Indeed, it has already begun.

By Jacob Malthouse, Fmr UNEP Staffer, Ex ICANN VP, Co-founder dot-eco domain registry.

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