Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

Blog Day 2008

Today is Blog Day, a day for bloggers to highlight some new and interesting blogs that they have found. Here are five blogs that I have been checking out lately. Enjoy!

Afromusing

Innovation, Africa and the environment: These are not topics that you often see together, but Juliana deftly covers news and insights about the environment and the African continent.

indexed

Index cards are for more than making flash card. Jessica Hagy posts an index card a day with a chart or diagram for a funny take on the world. The blog is a fun source of daily amusement, and I believe that she has a book out as well.

Quiet the Thunder

Milena Thomas is a fellow blogger through the Brazen Careerist Network. Her blog covers insights about her life and her view of politics through a libertarian’s eyes. We don’t agree politically, but I love having my views challenged occasionally.

InFomentation

Sarah writes on her blog about the nexus of information technology and social change, an intriguing topic to consider. I found her blog through the new Changeblogger Ning site that Britt Bravo started.

Collective Lens

See some gorgeous pictures from around the world and learn about various social causes, all in the same site. Collective Lens promotes social change through the medium of photography, promoting awareness and providing a window into the lives of the millions of people who live on less than $2 a day.

Want to participate in Blog Day? Here are the instructions.

  1. Find 5 blogs that you find interesting.
  2. Write a short description of the blogs and make sure to link to them
  3. Publish it today (on August 31st)
  4. Add the following links to your page for tracking purposes: technorati.com/tag/BlogDay2008 and www.blogday.org.

What health activists can learn from environmentalists

Public health and environmentalism are alike in that both activists for both issues address complex global problems characterized by interdependence and the need to catalyze collective action. That might be where the similarities end. Here are some of the observations that I have as the Silent Spring has exploded into going green.

photo courtesy of leighblacknall

photo courtesy of leighblackall

The value of small individual steps to cause collective action

Back in the dark ages when I took my first psychology class, we studied a number of techniques for persuasion. One that is particularly applicable in getting individuals involved in social change is called the foot in the door technique. You make a small request that is easy for the person to fulfill. Later, you make additional requests that gradually escalate the amount of time and resources required to complete the task.

Going green has found at least 50 ways to get their foot in the door and engage individuals to change their behavior for the health of the planet, most of which cost little or no money and do not take an inordinate amount of time to complete. Activism in health has focused on personal responsibility and personal behavior changes without taking in consideration how simple actions can be harnessed for collective action.

The relationship between emotion and rationality and its effect on change

When you see photos and video of regions affected by climate change, it stirs up feelings of sympathy for the people affected. Visual elements such as graphs easily explain the science behind climate change. Environmental activists can visually convey their messages, simultaneously appealing to emotions that spark action and avoid the quicksand of explaining terminology.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to explain obstetric fistula or other related medical maladies that plague the developing world but are completely preventable. Medical explanations rob issues of the emotional impact necessary to prompt action and the visuals are certainly not easy to portray to the general public.

The elusive cool factor

The reason why iPods are the number one music player is not because they are necessarily superior. They have that elusive IT Factor. Climate change has that IT Factor that makes people want to evangelize about their beliefs and actions. Al Gore has made fighting climate change not only social acceptable but socially desirable. People are literally green with envy about others’ ability going green. What has started out to be a counterculture message has all the hallmarks of social climbing combined with hard science developing innovative tools. After all, there is a Digg category dedicated to the news stories that puts the spotlight on the issue.

If you look at the Digg category on health, you’re likely to find more bad news about smoking or how sex really is good for your health. You won’t see the latest popular celebrity supporting a health cause with the exception of supporting HIV prevention for some. While Bono pops up occasionally with sunglasses that seems to be permanently attached to his head, it’s not socially desirable to advocate for access to adequate water and sanitation to prevent diarrhea, one of the causes of mortality in children under 5. Technology and innovation in health are not missing; awareness of developments in the public tends to be low.

Appealing to personal responsibility and pride

An appeal to personal responsibility for the overall state of health of the population has not been explored in public health. There is something to be said about tapping into the sense of common humanity whether through human rights or a different paradigm. Personal responsibility for taking care of the earth is a religious duty described in the Bible. Caretaking for the environment is also a form of patriotism in encouraging protection of your country’s natural resources. Fostering this same sort of personal connection to not only one’s personal state of health but the need to improve and maintain the infrastructure that supports the public’s health.

Can health activists take a page from An Inconvenient Truth and make access to good health a popular social movement?

Not according to plan: Change fatigue

I have a confession to make. Although I am still physically in Argentina, mentally I have one foot here and the other back in the States even though I am not leaving for five weeks. The mental divide was prompted as much by practical reasons (needing a job) as personal reasons (a certain degree of homesickness). Don’t get me wrong; I still have plenty to look forward to while I’m here and I know will miss the friends I have made here.

I was looking for a little inspiration tonight. Luckily, I was able to watch Michelle Obama’s DNC speech online. There are not many powerful African American female role models to emulate. Politics aside, although I am an Obama supporter, I really admire Michelle Obama for the accomplishments she has achieved in her duties to the community and to her family.

The part where she speaks about Obama seeing the world as it is and how it should be hit home. Ultimately, everyone who sets out to change the world for the better is working in the gap between those two worlds. Feeling part of this historical progression for social justice and being able to contribute is truly inspirational.

Here is a clip of her speech if you were looking for a little inspiration as well.

Interesting Links of the Week – August 24, 2008

Social Marketing Link of the Week

What happens when you pair college students with professional video producers for National HIV Testing Day? The PSI BCC Blog highlights these creative personal PSAs (PPSAs) that reached as far as Tanzania informing people of the importance of knowing your HIV status. Take a look at some of the PPSAs here.

Social Change Link of the Week

The folks at Social Actions have released a game-changing super widget for people who blog about social change. The new widget actively scans your blog and suggests actionable opportunities from over 20 platforms that Social Actions supports. Unfortunately, WordPress will not let me install it, but if you don’t have a WordPress blog, I would highly recommend you adding it to your site.

Videos of the Week

Looking to be socially conscious and the next Steven Spielberg? TrueTube is a video sharing site targeted for people who want to network about social issues through the medium of video. You can upload your own works of art and see videos of established nonprofits as well.

Public Health Link of the Week

The Health Care Blog brings the need for universal health care home with Health Care in the YouTube era. On two separate occasions and in two separate hospitals, someone video recorded a person dying while waiting for medical attention in the emergency room. I can’t bring myself to watch the video, but the comments below the videos really show how much dissatisfaction there is with the American health care system.

Social Entrepreneurship Link of the Week

For those looking for a little insight and inspiration for changemaking, Mentorography features digital diaries of social entrepreneurs.

Welcome change.org Readers!

I wanted to give a personal welcome to new readers here who found me through change.org. I was surprised and delighted to find out that I was this week’s featured changemaker.  I have recently joined change.org, and it is a wonderful way to connect with other changemakers all over the world. If you are reading this, and have not joined change.org yet, I would recommend that you sign up.

I have added a list of popular posts below for a quick tour of my blog. You can contact me through email and a number of social networking sites by visiting Contact Me.

Thanks again for reading!

Social Movements 2.0

Localism and its influence on social change

Is mandatory service an oxymoron?

Give life 101 – Organ donation!

Does social media help or hamper social change?