Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

Kiva! Help save the world… for FREE!!

Monday, August 1st, 2011

I’ve been using Kiva for a little bit now and I’m very impressed with it. It’s basically a web-based micro-lending site, where you make loans of, usually, 25 dollars to people who can really use them. Then when the loan is returned, you can reinvest it with someone else.

It’s great. Go to the site. Check it out.

The thing is that for a limited time Kiva is allowing members like me to offer a free trial whereby you can make your first 25 dollar loan for free. There are only a limited number of these so please act now!

Here’s the link http://kiva.org/invitedby/leon9175

DO IT!

You’ll be glad you did. I promise…

Help Haiti

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

I don’t have any personal knowledge specific to Haiti, but I do know this: These kinds of things are MUCH more urgent and extreme than they seem through the media filter. As hyperbolic as some of the coverage has been, I think it’s safe to assume that it isn’t capturing the scale and precariousness of what is going on.

If you didn’t hear Jason Beaubien’s on-air moment and the reaction to it on NPR, check out this story.

Partially because this blog started in response to the Katrina-Rita thing in the Gulf, I feel moved to use it to join the chorus of voices asking for help in Haiti.

We need to take these moments to not only reflect upon how fragile the systems that ensure our own physical security are, but to recognize that as people who CAN help, we MUST help.

I’m struck by the stymying of certain relief efforts by the destruction of critical infrastructure. All the high-tech aircraft in the world can’t help when the airports been destroyed. But at our end, far from the scene, technology actually helps us help. It makes sharing our own resources easier and (hopefully) more transparent.

There are tons of things you can do but the no-brainer, why-haven’t-you-already-done-it thing, if you have a cell phone in the US is to text “Haiti” to 90999. This donates $10 to the Red Cross, and as far as I can tell, this is on the up and up.

There are other ways to help. I won’t go on and on.

I’ve been appreciating the coverage on the Huffington Post.

The situation seems to be critical, dangerous and if not helped, headed towards something from Kormak McCarthy.

Fear

Friday, September 19th, 2008

It would seem that the folks who have hi-jacked the GOP and turned it into a heartless power-mongering machine, have managed to steer this election back towards the territory of the oft commented upon “Culture War” in the United States.

At the end of the DNC, I had hope that we were not going to go down this road…

I don’t want to name the individual who’s selection to run with McCain has been the most polarizing move in this game. I will not use the name because I don’t want to add to the number of times that name is out there. However I will say this:

It is profoundly confusing to me and many of my friends, to find ourselves in a country that has a significant number of people who will enthusiastically get behind this person. Some are reacting by blaming the media, saying that there really aren’t that many people behind her. I think this is wishful thinking. Others are just throwing mud and saying that people are just stupid. I think this is unfair. I think there are a lot of things going on but one of the big things that is going on is that people are scared.

It is hard to argue against the idea that Barack Obama represents change. He is, I think, appealing to the better angels of our nature. For many of us, this is exciting, and downright necessary. I happen to think our lives depend on it. But I also think that we need to come to terms with the extent to which this is scary for a lot of people.

We are in the midst of environmental and economic catastrophe. We are also at war. This is scary.

On top of this I think that many people look at Obama and feel fundamentally uncomfortable. It could be because he’s black, or because he’s educated, or because he’s new. In any case this feeling of ill-ease is scary.

So. I think people are looking for a reason to not support Barack Obama. They NEED a reason to not support him. For example: Many people in the United States have been culturally trained to not express racist sentiment. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have racist sentiments. It just means that those sentiments don’t get aired and don’t sit easily in them. So they will grasp for any other excuse to run from Obama so that they don’t have to say “I don’t like him cause he’s black.”

People who have two or three SUVs in their driveways, are afraid to change things that they see as fundamental to their lifestyle. So they chant “Drill, Baby, Drill!” It’s reassuring.

I don’t think these people are stupid. I think they’re scared. They feel trapped, and they’re looking for a way out.

They’re grasping for this new VP candidate because she seems to offer that way out. On a completely superficial, cultural level, she seems to offer comfort. We need to understand this. To ignore why this is happening is to be out of touch with our fellow citizens. To write it off is bigotry.

We don’t help them by telling them how irrational they’re being. We don’t help them by telling them they’re greedy, racist, idiots. I think we help them by helping them chill out. Calm down. Think about what’s going on. Look around. Listen to what people are actually saying. Pay attention, and take action based on consideration and rational thought.

On the other side, there is so much fear in how we are reacting to this new member of the McCain ticket. Hatred and fear. I don’t disagree with the reasons for these feelings, but I do disagree with the response. Chill out. Calm down. Think about what’s going on. Look around. Listen to what people are actually saying. Pay attention, and take action based on consideration and rational thought.

The result may be the same, but let it come from the better angels of our nature. Not the devils of fear that these power-mongers need to conjure in us all.

That’s what I think today…

Mr. Obama replies! (Kind of)

Monday, September 1st, 2008

I just got a text message:

“Barack asks that you give to the Red Cross: give 5 dollars by texting GIVE to 24357 or give more by calling 1-800-435-7669 or at redcross.org/donte. Please fwd”

So apparently it’s ok that I call him Barack.

I was going to make a bunch of jokes here about how he must have misread my last post etc, but given that I don’t take Gulf Coast Hurricanes lightly, I find that I mainly just want to get the word out. If you can help, please do. There’s still a lot of need even though Gustav wasn’t as bad as was feared.

For those readers of this blog who are down there: Hang tight. Looks like Gustav petered, but here comes Hanna.

In terms of the tone of the text from Obama, I have to say that there’s something about the “Barack asks that you…” that makes me think I drank some cool-aid somewhere along the line.

This is a weird post. Deal with it.

WorldChanging.com

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

I am a big fan of TED. If you don’t know what TED is I’ll blog about it sometime soon. One of the things I like about TED is that I find a lot of cool stuff through TED. Recently a TED talk led me to WorldChanging.com. I would like to suggest it to all readers of this Blog. I cross-post here their Manifesto. I think it says it pretty clearly. I don’t work for them of derive any benefit except in as much as I have a vested interest in the world getting better. If you read nothing else of it, check out the last line… The rest of this post is cut and paste from WorldChanging.com

WorldChanging.com works from a simple premise: that the tools, models and ideas for building a better future lie all around us. That plenty of people are working on tools for change, but the fields in which they work remain unconnected. That the motive, means and opportunity for profound positive change are already present. That another world is not just possible, it’s here. We only need to put the pieces together.

Informed by that premise, we do our best to bring you links to (and analysis of) those tools, models and ideas in a timely and concise manner. We don’t do negative reviews – why waste your time with what doesn’t work? We don’t offer critiques or exposes, except to the extent that such information may be necessary for the general reader to apprehend the usefulness of a particular tool or resource. We don’t generally offer links to resources which are about problems and not solutions, unless the resource is so insightful that its very existence is a step towards a solution. We pay special attention to tools, ideas and models that may have been overlooked in the mass media. We make a point of showing ways in which seemingly unconnected resources link together to form a toolkit for changing the world.

Every link we post is informed by technology, but the new possibilities we cover aren’t just high-tech. Sure, we all need to understand the uses (and dangers) of advances like biotechnology, the Internet, ubiquitous computing, artificial intelligences, “open source” software and nano-materials. But we also need to know how best to collaborate, how to build coalitions and movements, how to grow communities, how to make our businesses live up to their highest potential and how to make the promise of democracy into a reality. We need to understand techniques as well as technologies, ideas as well as innovations. How we work together is as important as the tools we use.

This is a conversation, not a sermon. We encourage not just feedback, but active participation, and, yes, challenge. Got a great idea for a resource we’ve missed? Let us know – better yet, write your own recommendation and send it to us. Think we’re off-base with a recommendation we’ve made? Let us know that, too, and what resource you think we should have covered instead. Changing the world is a team sport.