How Much Do Celebrities Influence Social Change?

May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

As stars like Jay-Z and Will Smith come out to support Obama’s position supporting marriage equality, the question remains – how much do celebrities influence social change?

Kenneth Jost with CQ Press just released a fantastic whitepaper that explores the good, the bad and the ugly of celebrity advocacy. Full description below –

More and more, celebrities are using their star power to promote causes ranging from fighting poverty and protecting the environment to safeguarding human rights and working for world peace. More than 2,800 celebrities now support slightly more than 1,800 causes. In a celebrity-obsessed society, entertainers and athletes can help focus public attention on global trouble spots, raise funds for disaster relief or increase public awareness of little-known diseases or medical conditions. The idea of looking to celebrities to educate the public about important issues may seem paradoxical, but some celebrities work hard to master difficult issues. The singer Bono has met with world leaders on global poverty issues, for example, while actor George Clooney has helped document Sudan’s war against the breakaway state of South Sudan. Celebrity advocacy is likely to increase, experts say with social media such as Facebook and Twitter increasingly used to air views, raise money and engage supporters.

Download and read it here.

h/t Sea Change Strategies

Bristol Demands Energy Equality

May 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve just heard about this fantastic project being set up by some pals in Bristol. Check it out, and if you can, chip in to help make it happen!
Demand Energy Equality is a young project that seeks to share with low income communities the skills needed to build DIY solar panels from re-used materials. This enables them access to a technology they are otherwise priced-out of despite subsidising through their electricity bills those who have the necessary capital for installation. In this way the project seeks to redress increasing energy and financial inequality, enable access of lower income households to an independent (and price-hike insulated) source of low carbon energy and encourage lower energy lifestyles.

This summer we are planning to put together a pretty special initiative with Edible Futures (a Bristol based growing project working to create a resilient food system) to build the world’s first (we think!) solar tree. The tree will be built using an architect designed frame to mimic a tree’s ability to maximise the sun’s solar energy over a yearly cycle, with recycled photo-voltaic cell fragments making up the leaves. The power generated will power a rain-fed irrigation system for the Edible Futures garden. The project seeks to involve and inspire local communities in food and energy and practical solutions to the challenges faced in achieving sustainable sources for both.

This is where you come in…we need people to pledge between £10-100 before 5th June in order to reach our required funding total of £5k. If we make it as one of the first five projects in the Energy Share category on to reach our total we will receive match funding up to £10k! Please consider making a pledge, and please forward this round your networks or to anyone who think might want to help. There is much in the pipeline for Demand Energy Equality and getting this off the ground will give us a real boost. Any help you can give will be massively appreciated.

It Is Easier To Obey A Law Than It Is To Love People

May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Community means communion of heart and spirit; it is a network of relationships. This implies a response to the cry of our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest, the weakest, the most wounded, and a sense of responsibility for them. And this is demanding and disturbing. That is why it is very easy to replace relationships and the demands they bring with laws, rules and administrative devices. It is easier to obey a law than it is to love people. This is why some communities are swallowed up by rules and administration instead of growing in gratuite, welcome and gift.

Jean Vanier

Travel Hiatus

May 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

As I’m travelling in the United States for the next three weeks I won’t be blogging regularly.

Instead I will be doing this, this and this regularly.


Link Lovin 10.05.12

May 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

  • Climate change is not a ‘message.’ It’s an objective reality and an urgent crisis. That’s why we must talk about it. KC Golden. h/t Rich Hawkins.
  • How insatiable ambition and studied indifference to the wrecked lives that litter a path to power came back to haunt Bo Xilai. Michael Wines.
  •  Previously unreleased photographs show impact of BP oil on endangered sea turtles. Brian Vastag.
  • Seven ideas on how to begin the structural transformation of the economy, to ensure it is publicly accountable and socially responsible. Peter Tatchell. h/t Brendan Guy.

Bertrand Russell’s 10 Commandments For Teachers

May 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

h/t Marginal Revolution

Link Loving 09.05.12

May 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

  • Who complains the most about political polarization? The polarized. Christopher Shea.
  • The efforts of China’s ruling elite to cope with the scandal that consumed a leading comrade mark a political watershed for the country. Kerry Brown and David Goodman.
  • Miss Travel – the most ethically questionable site I’ve seen in a while.
  • And FYI – the Wall St. Journal reports that women who get plastic surgery are likely to have poorer body image than women who don’t get plastic surgery.

Arundhati Roy’s Slamming Of Professional NGOs

May 9, 2012 § 4 Comments

“Armed with their billions, these NGOs have waded into the world, turning potential revolutionaries into salaried activists, funding artists, intellectuals and filmmakers, gently luring them away from radical confrontation, ushering them in the direction of multi-culturalism, gender, community development-the discourse couched in the language of identity politics and human rights.”

Arundhati Roy

Democracy Or Disempowerment?

May 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Or both?

Link Loving 08.05.12

May 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

  • Occupy Philanthropy: how can we devolve the philanthropic power of the 1% to the 99% to create the social change we need? The Edge Fund.
  • If you’re involved with Green Party leadership – listen to Jonathan Kent.
  • The flip side to Bill Gates’ charity billions. Andrew Bowman.
  • A simple antidote to a corporatized, unfeeling, profit-maximizing world. Seth Godin.
  • Growing numbers of non-white evangelicals and changing attitudes among younger Christians are reshaping the politics of American Christianity. The Economist. h/t Tom Baker.

Where Am I?

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