How to be an Activist

Many people are troubled with the state of global politics and maybe you’re one of those bothered people. What are you going to do about it?

Over at Grist they have a simple guide to being an effective activist for your cause (and I’m sure it’s a good one!). In order to be effective you just need to follow through on your actions. Basically, sharing news on Facebook won’t save the world but going out into the world and talking to the right people will.

Show up

Put events on your calendar. Commit to things, and then follow through on them. Even if it’s bringing a pie to a potluck that’s being held to spread awareness of a new transit initiative — just do it. Make the pie. Showing up is more than half the battle. According to Trauss: “All local political scenes are dying for competent participants.”

Pick up the phone — and make the meeting

It’s been said 100 times, but the relatively simple act of calling and/or meeting with your elected official gets a lot of mileage. Joanne Carney of the American Association for the Advancement of Science offers this reminder: “Members of Congress do spend time back in their districts, and they have district offices — and sometimes they’re a little bit more relaxed. So requesting opportunities to meet with [them] when they’re in the district sometimes can be very fruitful.”

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Visualizing Bold Climate Action

from desmog

There’s so much talk about taking action around climate change that it can be hard to remember what real action looks like. Climate action can take on many different forms and around the world how places react to climate change is different; meaning that we can see so many ways that cities are changing the world. Over at desmog blog they have compiled 11 cities that are making real efforts to take on climate change and what it looks like in picture.

Yokohama, Japan

The city of Yokohama is a winner of the C40 Awards 2016 in the Clean Energy Category. The Yokohama Smart City Project uses Smart Grid technology and solar panels to help cut energy consumption in homes and businesses by between 15 and 22 percent (Yokohama aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 80 perce

Read and see more.
Thanks to Delaney!

Standing Rock Sioux Achieve a Victory

Standing Rock #DAPL

This is proof that direct protest action works.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has decided to not grant permission to allow the Dakota Access pipeline to be built as planned. The pipeline was meant to go through burial lands of the Standing Rock Sioux which is offensive in itself, but there’s more to it. The pipeline would have also greatly harmed the local ecosystem and drinking water. In the event of a spill (and pipelines spill all the time) the damage to the natural environment and to people would be epic.

Despite these risks, Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corps of Engineers will continue to try to build the pipeline elsewhere. Of course this recent development will make it harder to do so and the protestors will continue to fight big oil for the average person’s right to clean water. What’s more, is that the economic argument for pipelines is weak at best.

The Army Corps of Engineers will not grant the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river, the army announced on Sunday, handing a major victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe after a months-long campaign against the pipeline.


The announcement came just one day before the corps’ deadline for thousands of Native American and environmental activists – who call themselves water protectors – to leave the sprawling encampment on the banks of the river. For months, they have protested over their fears that the pipeline would contaminate their water source and destroy sacred sites, and over the weekend hundreds of military veterans arrived at the camps in a show of support for the movement.

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Stop The Traffik App

Human trafficking is a real problem throughout the globe and sadly it isn’t showing signs of slowing down. An organization, Stop the Traffik, is focused on ending human trafficking and has launched an app to help in that process. The charity has a good history of stopping trafficking (see their chocolate campaign) and this app should help them in their work. The app uses input from people to gather data from around the world then that data will be analyzed to figure out larger patterns and issues in how human trafficking works. That data will then be used to shape policy and future campaigns.

One of the greatest obstacles in disrupting this global crime is the lack of intelligence on the inner workings, the back-stories, the networks, all the factors that build the real time picture of what is taking place. To help to stem the tide there is a strong need for an accurate and analysed global perspective, which can only happen with the coordinated gathering and sharing of data.

We seek to develop a revolutionary culture of sharing.

To have a meaningful impact STOP THE TRAFFIK believes there is a need for a global perspective, which can only happen with the co-ordinated gathering and sharing of data. Because of our established global network and its big data potential, our commitment to building local community resilience brings the possibility to truly disrupt, and STOP THE TRAFFIK.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Easily Browse Online Anonymously

In a world where our digital lives are tracked by democratic governments (Canada and the UK amongst them) we need to ensure that we can have private conversations online. Over at Digg they have collected a very easy to follow setup to get your protecting your privacy online in only an hour!

Keep Your Private Conversations Private

It’s rude enough for a stranger to even eavesdrop on your conversations in a place as public as a park. So opting to use messaging services with end-to-end encryption doesn’t make you some sort of criminal or tin foil hat-wearing nut. Whether you mind or not, there are organizations out there that are just scooping up every chat (Hello NSA!) you send out over the internet. No one is actively looking at them, or might ever look at them, but they’re listening so you might as well turn some music on or something.

It’s sort of like taping over your webcam or looking both ways before you cross the street — it’s such an easy and painless thing to do that it far outweighs the consequences of not doing that thing.

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Think that because you have “nothing to hide” that you shouldn’t be concerned about being tracked? Or that it’s OK for the democratically elected governments to justify mass surveillance? Well, Edward Snowden has a nice and short counter argument:

Some might say “I don’t care if they violate my privacy; I’ve got nothing to hide.” Help them understand that they are misunderstanding the fundamental nature of human rights. Nobody needs to justify why they “need” a right: the burden of justification falls on the one seeking to infringe upon the right. But even if they did, you can’t give away the rights of others because they’re not useful to you. More simply, the majority cannot vote away the natural rights of the minority.