Posts Tagged ‘Blog Action Day’
Monday, October 15th, 2012
Today, Monday, October 15, 2012, is Blog Action Day. (#powerofwe and #BAD12 ) This year the topic is “The Power of We”, an idea that is an important part of Lori’s and my beliefs. In fact, just two months ago I posted Power To the People – Changing the Game on exactly this subject.
That article focused on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other crowdfunding sites. People who felt they had little voice can now make themselves heard by supporting projects they care about.
This time, I want to follow up by writing about our favorite topic – Heroes – from the “power of we” viewpoint. We tend to think of Heroes as remote – Superman or Batman, isolated forces for good. Or maybe someone like a soldier who rescues a comrade, or a fireman rushing into the collapsing World Trade Center. The Heroes are all out there somewhere while we sit at home watching or reading about their exploits.
But wait a minute. How alone are those Heroes, anyway? Superman is pretty unique – He was sent to Earth from Krypton as a baby, and somehow being under our yellow sun gave him superpowers. But did he fight evil alone? Hardly. First he was saved from Krypton by his father and other scientists. Were they not the real Heroes, sacrificing their lives for the sake of one baby? Why didn’t one of them get in the rocket instead?
And down on Earth, that superbaby was found and cared for by Martha and Jonathan Kent. They made many sacrifices to survive an as-yet morally ambiguous baby who kept knocking holes in the wall and endangering everyone around him. More importantly, they taught young Clark Kent ethical and moral principles that guided the rest of his life. I’d argue that the Kents were the real superheroes in those stories! Superman was the tool forged by them to fight evil.
Those soldiers and firemen I mentioned? Do you really think they work alone? Sure, in their moment of reported glory, each of them went above and beyond the call of duty. But before that, they committed to duty, learned to work as a team, trained with their fellows, and at every stage received equipment, money, and support from their organization. Soldiers fight as a team or they die alone. Firemen specialize – Some running hoses, others climbing ladders, some running into buildings to rescue trapped people. Without the whole team, an individual fireman is (ahem) toast.
Batman mostly works as a loner… If you don’t count Robin, and Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon. Or the inherited wealth he uses to support his profligate crime-fighting lifestyle.
We Can All Be Heroes
But at the same time, one of the strengths of the Batman legend is that he does not have superpowers. He started out as an ordinary person and – with a lot of help from his friends – forged himself into a Hero. We would all like to believe that, if we work hard enough, we can be Heroes too.
And we can!
Where do soldiers, firemen, policemen, philanthropists, charity volunteers, and other real-life heroes come from? They all start out as ordinary people – some rich, some poor, most middle-class – and they commit to higher goals. They set their sights on noble goals, join a team, and work their tails off to gain the skills they need to succeed.
You and I and each of us can do the same. It takes commitment, follow-through, and the “power of we”.
A World of Heroes
Imagine a world full of heroes. It starts out as one or two individuals saying, “Things aren’t right. Someone should do something about that. I guess it’s up to me.”
Then they get together and realize that two people working together can accomplish more than two individuals alone. So they talk to others and share what they’ve learned. Pretty soon, someone else stands up and say, “You know, if they could do it, maybe so can I.” And then there are three.
And four. And a dozen. Slowly the word spreads, and more people join the cause. They aren’t all Heroes at first, but when they commit to doing good, they’ve taken the first step to becoming Heroes themselves.
And maybe you and I read, and listen, and say, “These people need help. How can they take on all the world’s troubles themselves?” And each of us has a choice – We can sit back, and keep complaining, and do nothing. Or we can take those first small steps ourselves. We can commit to joining the movement, doing Good whenever we can, and working towards becoming Heroes ourselves.
Because there is no Superman, or Batman, in our world. And there’s only one Chuck Norris. But there are a lot of ordinary people working to do good deeds, one small task at a time. Every time someone does Good – even it’s not a big, scary, Heroic action – it makes our world a little better.
The Power of We
Every time *you* do good, you make the world *and yourself* a little better. You become part of the hidden team, the people who care, the people who would rather be Heroes than lie back and ignore the evil around them.
That’s what “the power of We” is all about. A whole lot of people who take a stand and strive to do things that matter… That can be the difference from a world that suffocates under its own pollution, starves to death because it has exhausted its natural resources, or lives in fear under the iron hand of despotic rulers. We won’t stand for that world; we can’t allow it.
And that means we all – each one of us as individuals and many of us working together – must become Heroes. The world needs more Heroes, and if you and I do not heed the call, who will answer for us? It’s up to us and the Power of We.
Thursday, October 15th, 2009
The world is ending, and we’re all responsible. The greedy industrialists and we rabid consumers keep building factories and wasting more natural resources. We are filling the skies with carbon dioxide and pollutants, causing temperatures to rise around the world. The polar ice caps are melting, leading to tsunamis and further warming. Dogs and cats living together! The end of life as we know it!
At least, those are the dire warnings we’ve all been reading for the last twenty years and more. But what if they’re all wrong? What if the warming trend is just a natural cycle, just as Earth has gone through many times before? What if our factories, automobile exhaust, and love of one-use packaging are completely unrelated to the issue of global warming? What if it isn’t a real problem, or at least not one we can solve?
Today (October 15, 2009) is Blog Action Day and this year’s topic is Global Warming. This got us to thinking. We have a really good – and highly intelligent – friend who argues persuasively that “global warming” is a myth. He points out that the world has always had cycles of warmer and cooler climates and that there is no real proof that our industrial society is contributing to the current warming trend. It may well be that Earth is not so much heating up as emerging from a mini Ice Age into a more normal pattern.
The Principle of the Least Mistake
Another friend of ours loves to use the phrase, “The Principle of the Least Mistake.” The idea is that any time you can “take out cheap insurance”, you should. For example, you are going on a car trip through the desert. Your car is in good condition and well maintained, and you don’t expect any problems, but you take a few gallons of water with you anyway. This action has a cost – You had to go through some effort to pack something you don’t expect to need – but the reward if you do need it might literally be your life. You pay a small cost rather than have a small chance of suffering a major loss.
Conserving, recycling, and minimizing our “carbon footprint” are least mistake actions. Each takes some effort and might not make a big dent on global warming, but a lot of such small actions taken by many people could prevent a big mistake. And, as with many least mistake actions, they can pay unexpected dividends. California is banning incandescent bulbs. Replacing them with compact fluorescent or LED lights will cost us money in the short run, but the long-term benefits include longer life for the bulb and less power consumption. We’ll all win in the long run even if we aren’t helping to save the world.
It Can’t Hurt
There are a lot of small things you can do that might or might not help global warming… but could make your life better regardless:
- Avoid packaged foods. Eat more fresh vegetables and other simple foods. The cost: You may have to shop more often. Preparation will take longer. The benefits: Less waste (from packaging). You’ll save money. Fresh food tastes better and your health and energy level will likely improve.
- Refill water bottles at the store rather than buying new ones each time you run out. Or install a water filter so you don’t need to buy bottled water. The first approach is a pain, but it will save you money. The second has an up-front cost, but will save you time and possibly money in the long run. And you won’t have to deal with all those empties.
- By the way, drink water, not soda. More and more research is showing how terrible sugar is for our bodies. The artificial sweeteners are probably safer, but they haven’t been around long enough for us to be sure about that. Learn to love tea (we make it a pot at a time with a single teabag) or the freshness of plain water. You’ll eliminate the wasted cans and bottles and do your body a favor.
- Next time you trade in your car, get a fuel-efficient model. If you can, take public transportation. Even better – Ride a bike. The cost – You may have to wait for a bus and stand in a crowd. You may have to walk at each end. On your bike, you will constantly be in danger from careless drivers. Oh, but the benefits! You will save a fortune. You’ll never have to worry about finding a parking space. That extra walking – or bike riding – will improve your strength, energy, and general health. So what if global warming isn’t caused by hydrocarbon emissions? You’ll have made your own life better.
Keep Your Cool
Here’s the thing – Even if you disagree with someone’s main thesis, that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to the rest of what they have to say. There may be reasonable doubt about the causes of global warming, the best way to handle health care, and many other issues. But that doesn’t mean that someone who disagrees with us on the major points has nothing valuable to say. I’ve heard some great ideas from people all across the political spectrum.
In the case of global warming, we have a “least mistake” situation. If it’s an inevitable, natural climate change, then perhaps there’s nothing we can do about it except learn to live in a hotter environment. But if we’re making it worse with our industry and personal habits, why not take out a little insurance? Do what you can to reduce your use of energy and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. The costs are small compared to the potential benefits… and you may find you’re making your life better even if the theories of global warming are completely wrong.
Be one of the cool people. You know the mantra – “Reduce, Recycle, Reuse.” What can it hurt?
Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
Okay, all you wannabe Heroes – this is your call to action.
Today, around the world, more than 9 thousand people are writing on the internet about working together to solve the issues of poverty. Since this school is dedicated to promoting heroism, we are joining Blog Action Day to put our ideals into actions.
Like all things heroic, it doesn’t have to take much effort on our parts to make a difference when it comes to poverty. All of our old clothes and appliances are donated to charity. We give extra food to the food banks. Corey donates blood regularly, and just last week, I joined him. I put aside my squeamishness and the fact I have small veins so it requires more effort for the nurse to babysit me, but I survived the process. We also give money when we can to those environmental causes that deal with people as well as animals.
Unfortunately, these acts are a little like putting a bandage on a gaping wound. They don’t really solve the issues of poverty. Even with a used coat and blanket, a homeless person shivers at night as winter approaches. The real bases of poverty are unemployment and the inability to find a way to get enough food and adequate shelter.
Commitment to Creating a Cure
What will it take to find a solution to the poverty problem? First of all, it will take Commitment. We can’t ignore the problem and hope poverty just goes away. Poverty is a reason why endangered species of animals in Africa are being poached. Poverty is a reason why the rainforests are being devastated daily. Poverty is a reason why children are dying around the world.
We all need to look at the issues and causes of poverty and seriously address what we can do. Then, above all, we need to Do Something!
Lighting the Way
We believe strongly in the power of education – after all, this is a school. Education takes many forms. From the “One Laptop per Child”, whose goal is to provide children around the world with new opportunities and ways to think, to Habitat for Humanity, where people actually learn how to build their own home with the help of volunteers, there are many ways education can change the world.
Poverty won’t be solved by trying to teach starving people how to read and write – but it can be solved by teaching them hope and empowering them to change their own lives.
A Real Hero
One of our fans of the Quest for Glory computer game series is an active force working against poverty by empowerment, education, and economics. Pam is a wonderful artist who lives in Thailand. She and her sister went up to the hills and poor villages in her country to teach the craft of jewelry-making. She helped people there sell their art over the Internet. She makes a real difference in the world – sharing her time and sharing the beauty of her art.
Putting Words into Actions
In addition to our participation in Blog Action Day by blogging, I entered PSDTuts contest to create a button design to publicize and promote “Solving Poverty.” PSDTuts is the best site I’ve found for tutorials on Photoshop – much of the style of the School comes from what I have learned there – so I wanted to support their cause. For another thing, I really wanted to do more than just write about Solving Poverty – I wanted to do something about it. PSDTuts and its sister site, Vectortuts, which had a contest to design a t-shirt, offered over $1000 worth of prize money to the best designs. However, the prize money doesn’t go to the winners. It goes to Kiva.org in the designer’s names.
Kiva offers loans to people who need money to start businesses all over the world. The money goes directly to individuals who are actively working to make their lives better. This isn’t a charity – the people are expected to pay back the loan once they earn enough money to do so. It gives a hand to people who otherwise would not have a chance to get a loan from conventional methods. This doesn’t just benefit the borrowers. They create businesses and employ other impoverished people. This helps raise the standard of living for many people in their area. Kiva borrowers pay back 90% of their loans, an astonishingly high ratio considering that startup businesses in the U.S. are 90% likely to fail.
One of my designs – the “Give a little, Help a LOT” button – came in as a runner-up design. It will be for sale on PSDTut’s Cafe Press website along with all the other winners. So if you would like to own a “Lori Ann Cole” original art design button, or just support and promote the cause, check out the site and buy a button or a shirt there. All the profits will be passed along to Kiva.org.
Solving Poverty – We will find a Way
I ask each of you to take a moment to be a true hero and help find a solution to poverty. What will you do to end Poverty? Add your voice to this cause and comment upon this article. Do you know of a charity who addresses this problem? Perhaps you know another true hero who is making a difference in the world. Share your thoughts and inspire others to take part in this discussion. It’s a call to action for all of us.