Tuesday, March 20, 2007

10 ways to save the world...

...Valleywag style. ValleyWag is a silicon valley self referential blog about silicon valley self referential-ness. Or, in its words, a tech gossip rag. Here's a recent post on 10 ways to save the world.

I won't copy the whole post but let me say this, all 10 involve web/Internet sites, the post is introduced by a paragraph that includes the phrase "take a minute and save the world," and the overall tone of the collection and the post is to say, "do good, but don't knock yourself out."

Here are the 10 recommended sites:
10. World Community Grid:
9. The Hunger Site:
8. MoveOn.org:
7. Meetup:
6. Trickle Up:

5. Prosper:
4. Distributed Proofreading:
3. CivicSpace:
2. Your blog: Write an entry about the sites above and encourage others to take action. Or promote world-saving sites through Digg, Twitter, Reddit, Delicious, or a pay-it-forward site called Six Degrees.
1. The Mars Society:

So, here's the thing. I'm all for getting folks involved and making it easy to do so. But the message that you, or I, can just go on doing what we're doing and with the least possible effort make a difference on major world problems, is wrong. Its just not true. So - good for these sites and good for these activists, but enough with the simplistic lies about what it takes to make something happen. C'mon, get up and do something different. That might actually make a difference.


David Geilhufe said...

What is so interesting about your observation is that (1) it is true... changing the world is not as easy as buying a frappuccino; (2) the power of a bunch of people who "don't knock themselves out" should never be underestimated... is quite extraordinary; and (3) there is very little philanthropic investment in the potential for social good that lists like this represent.

In the Green community there are scores of technology start up companies capitalizing on the "environmentalism as lifestyle" trend.

Yet very little investment in the "social change as lifestyle" trend.

Institutional philanthropy is missing a big opportunity to harness vast resources... and most of the groups listed in the top 10 are more than interested in converting the "lifestyle" community into powerful, effective forces for real social change.

Gillian said...

How refreshing! It calls to mind my favourite aphorism --

Don't ask little of me - you might get it.

So, come on over to my high-demand blog and make a BIG difference by Fighting Poverty through Education.



Sam Davidson said...

I think you've got a point. However, if someone isn't doing anything to make a difference, perhaps they've got to start with baby steps. Here's to hoping that baby steps turn into large strides of progress.