Earth Island Institute’s Sacred Land Film Project produces a variety of media and educational materials — films, videos, DVDs, articles, photographs, school curricula materials and Web site content — to deepen public understanding of sacred places, indigenous cultures and environmental justice. Their mission is to use journalism, organizing and activism to rekindle reverence for land, increase respect for cultural diversity, stimulate dialogue about connections between nature and culture, and protect sacred lands and diverse spiritual practices. For the last decade they have focused on the production and distribution of the documentary film, In the Light of Reverence. They are currently developing a four-part series on sacred places around the world, entitled Standing on Sacred Ground.
In trying to revolutionize education, amazing strides have been made in the last few years, but so many of them don't spread beyond the local level. Real movements for change need a critical mass of interest and a force to help drive them.
TED, the conference series that highlights groundbreaking ideas and people across every discipline you can think of, has in many ways become an informal voice for the "change education" movement. This week TED made it offical by announcing a new initiative called TED-ED.
The TED-ED Brain Trust is a private forum created to shape and accelerate TED's push into the realm of Education. The aim of this community is to assemble a new archive of remarkable TED-ED videos, each designed to catalyze learning around the globe. Unlike TEDTalks, TED-ED videos are less than ten minutes long and may assume a variety of different formats.
At present, the non-profit association has an open call for interest. "We're seeking the expertise of visionary educators, students, organizations, filmmakers & other creative professionals to guide, galvanize & ultimately lead this exciting new initiative," TED posted on a TED-ED Brain Trust interest form. The Brain Trust will pool together these formative ideas to help shape TED-ED, which will later showcase videos, too.
According to a report from The Chronicle of Higher Education, TED-ED will also maintain a list of existing TED talks that relate to educational issues and will re-categorize them in a way that makes sense to educators and learners. Currently, TED tags its talk with terms like "jaw-dropping" and "courageous," which encourages exploration, certainly, but is less useful to educators and administrators looking for ideas and motivation in specific fields or business issues.
Part of this post taken from PCMag.com
By Matt Bannick, crossposted from McKinsey & Company
With a 9 percent annual growth rate, India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. But corruption remains a serious problem; in 2010, Transparency International ranked the country 87th out of 178 countries in its annual corruption perception index. Indian citizens are regularly forced to pay bribes for everything from birth certificates to driver’s licenses—with little recourse for changing the situation. Individuals who blow the whistle on rent-seeking officials face the threat of retribution, a risk to both themselves and their families.
Technology has the potential to rapidly change this state of affairs. In August 2010, Indian civic leaders launched a website called IPaidaBribe.com allowing citizens to document incidents in which they were forced to fork over money illegally to government employees. The website has gained traction with impressive speed. In little over a year, citizens from 400 cities have reported incidents of bribery more than 16,000 times, and the site has had over 600,000 visitors. Requests to replicate the site have come in from more than 18 countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, the Gambia, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka, as well as several countries in the Balkans.
When we hear about the role of technology in spurring social change, our minds may immediately turn to well-worn images—such as activists using Twitter and Facebook to organize uprisings this past spring in the Arab world. Hidden from the headlines, however, is an equally inspiring story. Technology is not just being used to organize protests; it is empowering citizens to intervene on a wide variety of difficult, risk-laden social issues. It is also providing a platform to rapidly scale these interventions —so that millions of lives can be touched in a relatively short period of time. It is time for the social sector to firmly commit to increasing our investments in these kinds of innovations.
December 10th is the day each year set aside to celebrate, remember and organize around human rights concerns throughout the globe. 2011 has been a year like no other for human rights. Human rights activism has never been more topical or more vital. And through the transforming power of social media, ordinary people have become human rights activists.
This year, millions of people decided the time had come to claim their rights. They took to the streets and demanded change. Many found their voices using the internet and instant messaging to inform, inspire and mobilize supporters to seek their basic human rights. Social media helped activists organize peaceful protest movements in cities across the globe - from Tunis to Madrid, from Cairo to New York - at times in the face of violent repression.
Human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values. As a global community we all share a day in common: Human Rights Day on 10 December, when we remember the creation 63 years ago of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For more information, visit https://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/2011/
Man has in him two distinct master impulses, the individualistic and the communal, a personal life and a social life, a personal motive of conduct and a social motive of conduct. The possibility of their opposition and the attempt to find their equation lie at the very roots of human civilisation.
-- Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man
The upcoming decades will be different from what has gone before. Our global society is in the midst of great transformations that will usher in new social and cultural formations. Many nations have been living the high life as a result of the prosperity afforded by rapid industrial, technological and material growth. The long tail of this -- the technological revolution -- has been fundamental in stretching tentacles of dependency far and wide. Complex structures of supply, demand and energy are now near to their breaking points.
The new century for humankind begins as the traditional structures provided by governments and social and political institutions are overwhelmed and no longer capable of serving humankind in its best interests. Problems and difficulties are likely to continue rising up, like a tsunami, and manifesting in our immediate social environments. Yet unlike a natural tsunami, these social uprisings can also serve to clean the slate and clear the brushwood. They can provide the opportunity for individuals and communities to re-evaluate their life priorities. It can be a time for reconstruction and reorientation based on newly-emerging perceptions of how better to lead a fulfilling life. Yet this outcome, perhaps, will not be for everyone: There will still be many who choose to return to the old, familiar, tried-and tested ways. However, this will prove difficult, as some of the old systems will no longer be functional.
New forms of social innovation need to be encouraged to emerge from the chrysalis of the fossilized structures. By this it is meant that more appropriate and creative social, economic, technological, cultural and political edifices can replace current dysfunctional systems. For example, new -- or previous -- skill sets can return for inclusion in our social and community roles. This may force many people to shift from office and administration jobs, from the service and manufacturing sectors, toward functions that serve a regional and localized need. These may include community teaching (in both theory and practical skills), maintenance and construction, localized economies (both currency and barter), permaculture, farming, creative inventions, regional management, community committees and more. Many farms may need to shift (or return) to organic forms of agriculture and crop growth in order to combat the rise in soil depletion. As many of us are now aware, petrochemicals and synthetic fertilizers negatively polarize the soil. While they may produce apparently abundant growth in the short term, in the long term they deplete the soil and exhaust its natural growing capability. The food produced is thus often lacking in nutrients and minerals. In short, many methods now employed will be forced, or catalyzed, into change.
The Global Social Justice Journal invites the submission of original research articles for publication. For further details including full submission guidelines, please visit the journal website.
The Global Social Justice Journal is a new Open Journal System initiative published by the Centre for International Studies at Cape Breton University http://cbu-cis.ca/. The Global Social Justice Journal disseminates peer reviewed research on all aspects of global social justice including issues of economic globalization, human rights, indigenous peoples, the environment, education, gender, class, poverty, inequality and race. The journal publishes research from disciplines including political science, philosophy, geography, economics, sociology, law, gender studies and indigenous studies. The journal welcomes the submission of articles analyzing the social impacts of markets and governments from normative or marginalized perspectives and specifically those originating in the global South. It especially welcomes the submission of articles that shed light on an otherwise neglected aspect of global social justice or that analyze alternative forms of social and political organization to the present structuring of globalization.
The Global Social Justice Journal has a commitment to the Open Access model of research dissemination and provides free public access to articles accepted for publication.
Cross-posted from the MobileActive website. MobileActive is the leading network and resource on the use of mobile technology for social impact, providing field consulting, conducting research, connecting people online and through participatory events, and advancing the use of mobiles for NGOs and civil society organizations.
Editor's Note: This post is written by Ibrahim Mothana who is an Atlas Fellow with MobileActive.org in 2011/2012. He is a Yemeni citizen from Sanaa.
In Yemen it’s difficult to know just how many wars are raging in the country at any one time. For centuries the country has been plagued by revenge killings and tribal conflict and the result is hundreds of deaths each year with many more injured. These localized wars can last for decades and are one of the most serious issues facing the country today.
In rural regions of Yemen, formal legal systems and a legal infrastructure do not exist, and tribal law has significant legitimacy as the only effective and efficient means of conflict resolution. Tribal laws are based on consensus, and conflicts are resolved through complex mediation processes and appeals procedures presided over by tribal elders and leaders (sheikhs). Due to the lack of many formal legal channels and the corruption in the legal infrastructure that exists, tribal law is faster, more efficient, and enjoys greater legitimacy.
Yet one of the biggest obstacles in using tribal law as a tool for conflict resolution is the lack of communication -- which is, in fact, often the root cause of many of the disputes between tribes. Creating dialogue between communities becomes an extraordinary challenge in a country with 24 million people dispersed over 150,000 human settlements.
Most of the tribal conflicts are dealt with customary tribal laws before becoming violent but if an armed conflict starts between tribes, then all channels of communication stop and the members of one tribe are not allowed to enter the territory of the other tribe. Only a third party can bring representatives from both sides to negotiate in a neutral environment, and convince the two or more tribal parties to negotiate or choose an arbitrator to settle the dispute. The increasing penetration of mobiles in the past years have eased this mediation process and virtual meetings have helped overcome the dilemma of finding a neutral meeting territory.
Saybrook Professor George Kent - who teaches STR 6585 "The Human Right to Adequate Food" - has published Ending Hunger Worldwide, a book that challenges the naïve notion that everyone wants hunger to end. Rather, hunger ensures that some people will work for very low pay, so employers make good profits and consumers enjoy cheap goods. Hunger analysts typically focus on agriculture yields and interventions with capsules and supplements. They rarely acknowledge that hunger is a deeply social issue that is shaped by the ways in which people treat each other. The central concept that drives the book is that in strong communities, people don’t go hungry. Strong communities have high levels of concern about one another’s well-being. People may provide food to one another when that is necessary, but more fundamentally, they ensure that all have decent opportunities to provide for themselves.There is no shortage of food in the world; there is a shortage of opportunities.
Kent's other recent publication, Regulating Infant Formula, assesses the widespread assumption that the government or some international agency is monitoring the quality of infant formula. Government agencies sometimes raise alarms when a batch of formula is seriously contaminated, but they are not monitoring the product to ensure the health of children. More than half the infant formula used in the U.S. is provided by the government, at no cost to the families. The government monitors the economic impact on the manufacturers, but not the impact on the health of children. It has been estimated that more than 900 children in the U.S. die each year because they have been fed with infant formula.
Professor Kent was invited last year by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to speak on Ending on Hunger Worldwide for its Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition. The report from this event is available as a pdf for download.
The Directory of Open Access Journals increases the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals thereby promoting their increased usage and impact. This is a valuable resource for the Saybrook community, in addition to our own Library's extensive resources.
The Directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content. In short a one stop shop for users to Open Access Journals.
The proliferation of freely accessible online journals, the development of subject specific pre- and e-print archives and collections of learning objects provides a very valuable supplement of scientific knowledge to the existing types of published scientific information (books, journals, databases etc.). However these valuable collections are difficult to overview and integrate in the library and information services provided by libraries for their user constituency.
Inaugurated September, 2011, at Swarthmore College, under the direction of scholar and professor George Lakey, the Global Nonviolent Action Database is a valuable resource providing free access to information about hundreds of cases of nonviolent action for learning and citizen action.
Each campaign is shown in two ways: a searchable database using fields and coded assessments of degree of success, and a 2-4 page narrative detailing the play-by-play interaction of the campaign with its opponents. The database supports searches by country, by issue, by action method used, and even by year. The topics of the campaigns are grouped in six clusters: human rights; democracy; economic justice; environment; peace; and national/ethnic identity.
The goal of the Database is to make available comparative information that will support researchers and writers to develop strategic knowledge and theory. Strategists, activist organizers, scholars, and teachers will find many uses for the database, as well as citizens wanting to expand their horizons. Journalists and bloggers will find easy access for contextualizing stories of contemporary protests they are reporting. Up until now many observers write about breaking news with a tone of surprise; coverage of the Egyptian events of early 2011 included wonderment and an assumption of protester spontaneity that showed ignorance of the developing craft of nonviolent struggle. Even a short time with the database reveals a multiplicity of connections among cases, through a shared “wave,” shared methods, shared influences, and shared time periods. Activist organizers and strategists can use the database to expand the repertoire of options for nonviolent campaigns. By exploring the use of 198+ methods of action, campaigners may become more creative and proactive than they otherwise might be. They may also calculate more carefully in relation to resources and goals, and craft a more winnable campaign than they otherwise would do.