23.9.10

Microact now!

Today, I just came across a new site called ifwerantheworld.com. The idea of it is to turn all those good intentions into actions - "microactions", more specifically!

So, I've started my own "action platform". Check it out:



It's just a bit gimmicky for my liking, and heavy on the buzz words. But does it have potential as a tool for change? The site is only six months old, so I guess it's too early to tell...

14.9.10

Can I Help You?


A new report, out last week, from the CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) puts NZ and Australia at the top of its "world giving index". The report finds, "when giving is thought of as more than just money, a new order of global generosity emerges."

So, yay for New Zealand! (And Australia, of course!)

You can download the report here.

However... last month, John Key said New Zealand will not meet its pledge to donate 0.7 percent of GDP as foreign aid by the United Nations’ 2015 deadline. (See this article.)

This graph (from globalissues.org) shows the figures, for 2009:


It's easy to be cynical about aid, and give up in the face of corruption and mismanagement. William Easterly's The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest have Done So Much Ill and so Little Good (Penguin 2006) is on my wish list. There is certainly plenty of evidence to support his claim. However, Amartya Sen's more moderate response feels truer to me. He thinks Easterly's is an "overblown attack", which "obscures the real point: that aid can work, but only if done right."

So, we could still be doing more...

These websites provide points of departure for responding as an individual:

12.9.10

The Majestic Plastic Bag

Jeremy Irons narrates this fascinating documentary about an under-appreciated element of the modern ecosystem!



It's been a year since supermarkets in New Zealand backtracked on their decision to charge 10 cents per shopping bag. Now, we get them for free, in unlimited quantities ... thus ensuring the continued survival of the 'species'.