Posts tagged ‘activism’

Subversive Library

Kat Atreides is a student of a private high school that released a long list of books that students were not allowed to read.

I was absolutely appalled, because a large number of the books were classics and others that are my favorites. One of my personal favorites, The Catcher in the Rye, was on the list, so I decided to bring it to school to see if I would really get in trouble. Well… I did but not too much. Then (surprise!) a boy in my English class asked if he could borrow the book, because he heard it was very good AND it was banned!

Now she’s running an illegal library of 62 banned books (I shudder to think how long the list must be) out of her locker and the unoccupied locker next to hers. I love that students who had no previous interest in reading these classics are now hungry for their chance. Because she doesn’t want to cause mental harm to children unprepared to deal with the content of these dangerously subversive books (many of which were on my highschool’s curriculum), Kat doesn’t loan books to freshmen.

A sampling of the offending books in her catalogue:
– Animal Farm
– Catch-22
– A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
– The Catcher in the Rye
– The Canterbury Tales
– Candide
– The Divine Comedy
– The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
– Lord of the Flies
– One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
– Paradise Lost
– The Picture of Dorian Gray
– Slaughterhouse-5

Kudos, Kat. In my first year of university, students were getting special permission not to read Timothy Findley’s The Wars because they were certain they’d be irreparably damaged by the description of homosexual acts.

From Yahoo Answers: “Is it OK to run an illegal library from my locker at school?”

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May 27, 2009 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

12-Year-Old Activist

When 12 year old Dustin was looking for a community service project, he wanted to find something that would combine his dual passions: animals, and solar energy. So, proving that he had more moxie than most adults, he “made an initial business presentation” about the benefits of solar to the CEO of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, explaining the fact that installing solar systems would have a future payoff. Then he approached Namasté Solar, about whether their granting program could help make it happen. When the Center for ReSource Conservation (CRC) later received an anonymous donation and asked Namasté, a community partner, about projects that deserved funding, Dustin’s project was on their mind. Together, the two organizations were able to cover 100% of the cost of a solar array.

Says Dustin:

“It was exciting – we had a sheet with costs showing where all of the money was coming from. Usually, the section ‘what you have to pay’ is a bigger number, but for the Humane Society, it was $0. We had found ways to fully pay for their system, and that meant there was more money for the animals.”

Aside from the 18000 lbs of emissions savings, the Humane Society can expect an annual energy savings of $800. Because of a 12 year old boy with a superhero complex.

Via Yellows and Blues.

May 26, 2009 at 2:33 pm Leave a comment

Wine to Water

I’d never heard of Doc Hendley, 30, until today, but he’s officially earned the rank of hero in my books. Back in 2003, when he was working as a bar tender, he literally dreamed up the idea of Wine to Water, a non-profit organization that provides clean water to people around the world.

When the idea came to me to start Wine To Water the only real world job experience I had was tending bar. I dreamed of building an organization that fought water related death and disease using completely different methods than anyone else. So I started raising money to fight this water epidemic the best way I knew how, by pouring wine and playing music.

He started raising money at wine tasting events, and took the procedes to Samaritan’s Purse, to support their well-drilling operation. But instead of just taking the money, the head of Samaritan’s Purse taught him how to drill so he could use the cash he raised to do his own water work in Sudan.

While he was there, he noticed that

“big organizations came along with million dollar grants and half-million dollar drills to meet a quota of 50 wells in six months to successfully complete their grant, only to get another. It’s like a business. That’s how they make their money. And that really upset me.

Besides, he had a better way. Instead of popping a hole in the ground and leaving he’s teaching people how to dig their own wells. So they can sustain themselves. And each other. That is beautiful.

Doc Hendley

Via Tonic.

May 8, 2009 at 11:13 pm Leave a comment

Eco-Pirates Seize Raven’s Ait

Back in February, an activist who goes by Nick Revolving, 28, was taking a leisurely boat ride in the Thames and realized that an island that once served as a venue for weddings and conferences was lying vacant as a result of the economic downturn. So he decided to do something productive with it. So he invited his friends, and with an aim to “to give it back to the people,” they’ve been squatting on it in a sustainable model commune, complete with a tree-house and raised-bed permaculture gardens.

The goal of the group is to “transform the island into an eco conference centre, aimed at showcasing green ideas and promote sustainable development” In the hopes of making it official, they’ve submitted formal plans for their “sustainable island” to the local council, but the council members are unwilling to negotiate while the squatters are still on the land.

In fact, they’ve issued an eviction notice, so my understanding of squatters rights in England is obviously flawed. It seemed to work for the Geurrilla Gardeners. Interesting though, that although the island has been vacant since November, council urgently wants them off because “there are companies interested” in the land. The community’s behind these eco-pirates, saying that “They’re serving the community”, but the group says it will leave in eight weeks time. Shame. I wonder what the consequences of ignoring an eviction notice are?

Read the article in Yahoo News. Or better yet, visit the Raven’s Ait website to read about their plans and show your support.

UPDATE:

from the Ravens Ait Facebook page:

The island was evicted by a large armed police operation in the early hours of Friday May 1st 2009.

The council are now paying for 24 hour security with a continous rolling presence of around 10 guards (at an estimated cost of £2000 a day of taxpayers money) while they try to sell off the island.

We think this is a gross waste of taxpayers money that could have been spent supporting our proposal for a community centre. Of course the island is no longer accessible to the public either, so effectively taxpayers are paying vast sums of money to keep themselves off the island while the council prepares to sell this historic piece of common land to a hotel or property developer

What a terrible lack of vision. The group hasn’t given up, though. They’re appealing to the media to help them raise £1.5 million “to save this island as a community facility for all generations to enjoy into the future.” I’ve asked them if they have a paypal account, and will post the link if they have one, for anyone who wishes to make a donation.

May 6, 2009 at 4:31 am Leave a comment

Environmental Heroines and Snail Porn

TreeHugger has posted an inspiring slideshow of 11 “environmental heroines” who have brought about change “with their work as activists, community builders, sustainers, nurturers, artists, politicians, scientists and teachers alike.”
Majora Carter
Whether or not you celebrate Mother’s Day, it’s hard not to celebrate woman who have changed the world, in their own way. Plus it led me to this: snail porn Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno: short films on the mating habits of insects. Who knew snails were sadomasochistic?

May 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

The WHO Farm Project

You’ve probably heard by now that Michelle Obama has planted a 1100 sq ft organic vegetable garden on the Whitehouse Lawn to supply the White House kitchen. But do you know where the idea originated?

Although Michelle Obama had her own reasons for starting the garden, it started with a non-partisan, petition-based initiative called The WhoFarm (White House Organic Farm) Project. The Project, lead by Daniel Bowman Simon, 28, and Casey Gustowarow, 27, acquired the WHOFarmMobile, (two school buses fused together with an organic edible garden on the roof) and drove across 25 states to raise awareness and gather signatures for their petition.

the whofarmmobile

As the first harvest comes off the garden, we can see a positive example of how a grass roots movement made a huge difference. Now “every single person from Prince Charles on down” are talking about it:

More on what people are saying later.

Think about The WHOFarm the next time you think, “why bother, the government isn’t going to do anything”.

EDIT:
evidently the WHOFarm wasn’t the only group petitioning for a Whitehouse garden. Roger Doiron started a project called Eat The View in Feb 2008, which gathered 100 000 signatures.

May 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm 1 comment

Standing Up to the Madness: how four librarians beat the patriot act

An entertaining and inspiring story of four rebel librarians, standing up for what is right.

April 26, 2009 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment


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