The Humanitarian Douchery That is Voluntourism

“Voluntourism” is the growing trend of rich people using their vacations to go to poor places where they think they can help. A good chunk of the time these voluntourists are actually causing harm. This may seem counterintuitive but we’ve seen this before in the past with programs of the ‘adopt a child’ sort (you know, a nickel a day will save one kid).

The campaign to End Humanitarian Douchery wants to change that. If you’re not careful you’ll be engaging in modern neocolonial offensiveness.

Guan and MacNeill have even compiled a list of “The Seven Sins of Humanitarian Douchery” to help people recognize douchebags in action. Signs include:

  • Research slothery: A lack of research could lead to supporting unethical organizations or performing work a host community doesn’t even need.
  • Lusting for likes: When people flaunt their experiences on social media as “heroes” who are “saving” the third world.
  • Fishing for envy: When volunteers go on trips to make themselves look good and others jealous.

“You can tell that this is a trend that’s growing,” Guan says. “I’ve seen so many of my peers jet off to developing countries and try to save the world — and it’s great — but the thing is, even when you go in with best intentions, you can do more harm than good.”

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Pick Up Your Butts

In Canada, like elsewhere with snow, when the spring thaw comes it reveals plants and it also reveals something gross: discarded cigarette butts. Everyone already knows that smoking kills, but some people may not know the damage done by butts.

Butt Blitz has set out to do two things: raise awareness of the harm butts case and clean them up. They are asking you to help out this weekend!

Cigarette butt litter is a growing problem everywhere. We need to raise awareness about the implications this has for the health of our ecosystems, wildlife, and our own health. The first step to reversing this problem is picking up the butts that are already on the ground, from there we can spread awareness and come up with solutions that will stop cigarette butts from being littered in the future. Did you know ONE cigarette butt PER LITRE of water can KILL the fish in a stream? (Slaughter et al). When did we get so careless? It’s time to make a change.

Check it out!

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Greenpeace and the Climate Investigations Center create Anti-Environmental Archives

Some nifty news out of Greenpeace’s PolluterWatch program and the Climate Investigations Centre. They have release an archive of documents that show the deceitful tactics used by climate change deniers and their ilk. A new tool to fight against people who deny the future.

In the spirit of the Tobacco Archives and Chemical Industry Archives, the new Anti-Environmental Archives provide historic reference material on organizations and people who have worked to counter the environmental movement and stop government action to protect the environment on issues from endangered species to property rights, and from pesticides to global warming.

 

This document archive provides researchers and journalists with thousands of documents posted for the first time on the web.  In total, there are over 3,500 documents, comprising some 27,000 pages, covering over 300 organizations and people.

 

The front page of the Anti-Environmental Archives features the entire list of organizations and people covered. Subpages contain search features and call out important individualsissuesanti-environmental organizationstrade associations, and front groups.

 

These files were curated by the Greenpeace Research Department over the past 15 years. Most of the material was collected in the 1990s by CLEAR (Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy Research) which was part of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) at the time.

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Turning Trash Into Health Care in Indonesia

Indonesia has a rather large number of people on reactively small landmass and as a result solid waste has become a problem. Enter Garbage Clinical Insurance which is a company focussed on turning trash collection into health care. It’s a simple solution insofar that people who can’t afford to see a doctor can bring in found trash in exchange for health care. It cleans the streets while keeping people healthy!

For patients, it’s like getting health care for free. “They think they don’t pay anything for the insurance—they just give garbage,” Albinsaid says. “So it persuades the community. And we’re encouraging poor people to pay with their own resources.”

Albinsaid, now 26, has been running his startup, Garbage Clinical Insurance, for two years, after a few earlier variations on the idea failed to take off. The company now runs a health clinic of its own, and also works with four others. So far, it has helped 3,500 uninsured people get health care.

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PULP: Using Old Materials for New Movements

Art is fun and it can be even more fun when it contributes to changing the world. PULP is an organization that welcomes people (beginners to pros) who are into art and want to make art that uses pre-used materials. This year they’re throwing a party!

PULP: paper art party 2015 is an interactive art and design exhibit integrated with a live music show. The party brings together artists of all fields, musicians, activity groups, and hundreds of guests. We will be raising funds and using our collective design expertise to help a charity in Toronto. Past events have supported the Street Haven at the Crossroads’ women’s shelter and Architecture for Humanity.

This year, the event will take place at Jam Factory Co. situated in south Riverdale within the Greater Toronto Area. The event is set to take place on May 23rd, 2015.

Check out PULP.

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