Why Creative Green Living No Longer Publishes Articles about Vaccines

One of the very first articles I wrote for Creative Green Living in early 2013 was about vaccines. It was titled Eight Questions to Ask Before Vaccinating Your Child.

In it, I talked about evaluating vaccines on a case-by-case basis and comparing the specific vaccines you were considering for your children against the health needs and history of your child.

Over the course of the six subsequent years, I wrote articles about:

  • measles
  • mumps
  • MMR vaccine statistics from the CDC
  • the Disneyland measles outbreak
  • the shift in my thinking about pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines
  • my professional views as a formally trained Christian pastor and scholar on religious exemptions and more.

These posts were read by close to 100,000 readers!

My husband at the time half-jokingly suggested that I could make writing about vaccines into a very profitable career.

And I could have.

These articles brought many people to my website and my display advertising income during months I wrote articles on vaccines definitely saw a boost!

But vaccines aren't really what Creative Green Living is about.

Creative Green Living exists to help families make healthier choices that are beautiful and delicious. 

Avoiding a particular vaccine that might be damaging for your specific child is absolutely part of making healthier choices for your family.

BUT I am not a doctor. I am not YOUR doctor.

My approach to vaccines - and nearly every health-based issue I write about - is always steeped in facts. I always cite my sources.

I have a graduate-level education in Christian Ethics and Biblical Studies from one of the top research learning seminaries in the United States (if not perhaps the world).

Blah blah blah. What does that mean? 

It means if you can't trust that I learned how to go back to the source when doing research and cite my sources from my grandparents who were literally rocket scientists (I did), I definitely learned how to do it in graduate school.

I write fact-based articles that are impeccably researched with extensive footnotes and links to source documents.

For a few years I felt compelled to write these pieces because my goal when I started my graduate education, with my eyes on a PhD (no I did not get there. #lifehappened) was to research ideas as thoroughly as possible and then distill it down in a way that most people could understand without having to get an advanced degree themselves.

When I started writing these articles, people like Dr. Paul Thomas and Dr. Jennifer Margulis weren't writing as extensively or publicly on the issue.

But back to me not being a doctor.

Despite the fact that articles published on Creative Green Living are always impeccably researched using primary sources like the Center for Disease Control, Google put out an algorithm update in August of 2018 (often called the Medic update) that negatively affected websites that publish health and wellness content if the algorithm can't establish adequate E-A-T signals (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust).

I'm not a doctor.

I don't regularly write about vaccines (only nine articles written in six years).

I have friends who were getting their websites shut down or de-indexed or otherwise penalized due to not being doctors.

And even some doctors who really are doctors were seeing their websites penalized.

Then in early 2019, Pinterest -- the source of nearly 60% of my web traffic last year, got in on the game and decided to stop showing content related to vaccines.

And because Pinterest is really a search engine, I know that if they haven't already done it, I suspect they will eventually rank sites they deem to publish concerning vaccine content more poorly than other sites.

Even for pins that are not related to vaccines.

And then later in 2019 Facebook decided they want to be more in control of what people see and don't see.

I'm not an anti-vaxxer. I do not oppose vaccines. My articles are well-researched (meaning I always use primary sources and cite them).

But frankly, the algorithms in these search engines and social media sites don't care.

Because I am neither a doctor nor do I always agree with the CDC's conclusions about what to do with their data, I run the risk of losing my traffic from any or all of those places.

And if I lost all my traffic from Google, Facebook and Pinterest added together I would lose 90% of my traffic.

Why does this matter?

Creative Green Living is my full-time job.

Yes, I have a second "baby website" about painted rocks.

Yes, I am a book author.

Yes, I get asked to teach classes and speak at conferences.

But the humans reading the content on Creative Green Living are my main source of income from advertising. If I lose my readers I lose my income.

As a single mom without a partner's income to fall back on, I cannot afford to lose my income

I can't afford for 90% of you to go away because 1% of my content is something a search engine or social media site thinks I'm not qualified to write.

So I thought about it for a long time.

I left the articles up for longer than was probably prudent - because damn it if I'm going to let anyone tell me what to do or what I'm allowed to write about.

But at the end of the day, Creative Green Living is my livelihood and how I feed my kids.

So with great sadness and regret for the state of the internet, I took down my articles about vaccines and vaccine exemptions in 2019.

As an interesting plot twist, I unexpectedly became one of several unofficial spokespeople for opposing government-mandated medical procedures in Oregon during the 2019 legislative session.

Here is a news clip that ran on KGW in April, 2019 that featured me speaking to reporter, Morgan Romero about why HB 3063 is bad for Oregon.

important: while this short clip does mention that I am a school board member, I need to point out that I was not speaking to KGW on behalf of the school board nor was I sent to this interview by the school board. 

I mentioned the fact that I am on the school board in the context of explaining why I was concerned about HB3063 adversely affecting educational funding (because at my school, as chair of the fundraising committee, I would likely have to be the one to find ways to make up that funding loss)

I ended up having multiple media interviews between February and June 2019 about vaccines and vaccine mandates after I had a bit of a public sparring match with an Oregon state house rep and a state senator during a townhall meeting.

I became unexpectedly involved in politics, made multiple trips to the state capitol and turned my Carissa Bonham public figure/author Facebook page into Oregon politics central.

So it feels extra sad and ironic that Creative Green Living as a business had to make the decision to bow out of the vaccine and vaccine mandate discussion while at the same time I as a community member became more involved than ever speaking out about the issue.

Second plot twist: my small Facebook page posting content about vaccine mandates ended up reaching more than twice the number of people in 2019 than all the vaccine content on my website added together for the last six years. Ha!

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  1. Censorship at it's finest. I would have loved to read the articles you did write about it. Maybe start a second website?

    1. I have the articles archived. If there is a particular topic you are interested in, email me or PM me on social media and I'll send it to you. carissa@creativegreenliving.com


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Carissa's Creativity Space (creativecarissa.com) became Creative Green Living in February 2013. As such the watermarks on older posts may reflect the previous site name.